P. Snoeijs-Leijonmalm, H. Flores, S. Sakinan, N. Hildebrandt, A. Svenson, G. Castellani, K. Vane, F.C. Mark, C. Heuzé, S. Tippenhauer, B. Niehoff, J. Hjelm, J. Hentati Sundberg, F.L. Schaafsma, R. Engelmann and The EFICA-MOSAiC Team (2022) Unexpected fish and squid in the central Arctic deep scattering layer, Science Advances, vol 8, doi:10.1126/sciadv.abj7536
During the MOSAiC expedition, as the ship was embedded in the sea ice pack, one of the ways through which biodiversity and abundance were measured was via the (hydroacoustic) backscatter of the “deep scattering layer”. We find here that the backscatter is strongly correlated to the water mass properties: life, and there’s quite a lot of it, sits primarily in the comparatively warm Atlantic layer.
The team also collected fish samples and recorded hours of video footages. These reveal that, unexpectedly, that layer also contained healthy polar cods and squids.
The abundance is way too low for fisheries, but these results prove that the ice-covered Arctic Ocean is far from being the desert it’s often described as (CH’s personal opinion: and consequently, it should be protected accordingly).