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Sensitivity of Arctic Cod

Understanding the impacts of oil exposure on juvenile stages of Arctic cod

Arctic food web showing the importance of Arctic cod

Caption:

Arctic food web showing the importance of Arctic cod

Background

Arctic cod are a keystone species with an abundant distribution throughout the Arctic region. Increased interest in offshore oil development and the presence of higher amounts of ship traffic in the Arctic threaten this poorly understood ecologically important species. The objective of this project is to understand the impacts of oil exposure on juvenile stages of Arctic cod.

Methods

Oil-exposed Arctic cod were held in tanks for 6 months and analyzed. Fish were measured at 1-month intervals marking 5 critical growth periods in their early life history. Growth will be assessed for each sampling period.

Results

Successful completion of the project will provide an understanding of the impact of oil exposure on Arctic cod during their early life history; specifically, information on whether oil-impacted fish can survive their first overwintering in the Arctic.