Interaction webs in arctic ecosystems: Determinants of arctic change?

Niels M Schmidt, Bess Hardwick, Olivier Gilg, Toke T. Hoye, Paul Hemming Krogh, Hans Meltofte, Anders Michelsen, Jesper B. Mosbacher, Katrine Raundrup, Jeroen Reneerkens, L. Stewart, Helena K Wirta, Tomas Roslin

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How species interact modulate their dynamics, their response to environmental change, and ultimately the functioning and stability of entire
communities. Work conducted at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland, has changed our view on how networks of arctic biotic interactions are structured, how they vary in time, and how they are changing with current environmental change: Firstly, the high arctic interaction webs are much more complex than previously envisaged, and with a structure mainly dictated by its arthropod component. Secondly, the dynamics of species within these webs reflect changes in environmental conditions. Thirdly, biotic interactions within a trophic level may affect other trophic levels, in some cases ultimately affecting land-atmosphere feedbacks. Finally, differential responses to environmental change may decouple interacting species. These insights form Zackenberg emphasize that the combination of long-term, ecosystem-based monitoring and targeted research projects offers the most fruitful basis for understanding and predicting the future of arctic ecosystems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S12-S25
Number of pages14
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 23-Jan-2017


  • ecosystem services
  • ecosystem function
  • network
  • plant-pollinator
  • plant-herbivore
  • predator-prey

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