Arctic Terrestrial Biology

On the following pages, you can find information about Arctic terrestrial organisms, including specific characteristics of the taxonomic groups, diversity and colonization patterns, adaptations and ecophysiology, as well as challenges faced by organisms living in the Arctic environment. 

Photos © Eike Stübner

Factors and interactions shaping the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem, including environmental physical characteristics, origin and development through time are explained. Habitat types typical for the Arctic (glacial and periglacial) are presented and threats to the system including climate change and pollution adressed

Each subject is covered in depth and with references to current literature. Information on Arctic organism groups is structured following taxonomic groups. Links between related topics and to explanatory boxes or additional material, connect the chapter with each other and the resource section.

The area covered

The presented material concentrates on the European Arctic, with focus on Svalbard as a model system. Examples from three archipelagoes, bordering the Barents Sea, are used: Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya. It is a region of convergence for the Palearctic and Nearctic faunas re-colonising the Arctic following the retreat of ice since the Last Glacial Maximum. More about the focus area can be found here.

Map of the focus area of this web site - Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya - surrounding the Barents Sea. Map kindly provided by Malin Dase