Introduction to the Arctic environment

Very often Arctic terrestrial ecosystems are described as species poor, fragile and isolated. However, when the overall system is considered, from large mammals to micro- and meso-fauna, an intricate complexity is revealed.  It is increasingly acknowledged that it plays an essential role in the Earth climate system, and as natural laboratory to study evolutionary and ecological aspects inherent of extreme environments.

The Arctic receives considerable attention in recent years due to the importance of this rapidly changing region in the Earth System, but also the inherent interest of an extreme and unique environment.

The topics below provide an introduction to this fascinating environment and set the stage in order to be able to understand the biology of organisms living in Arctic regions.