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Frontiers in Understanding Climate Change and Polar Ecosystems: Report of a Workshop
with natural ecosystems. Many workshop participants emphasized that improved understanding of such gateways will require collaborations between scientists with a broad range of expertise in many aspects of natural systems. The fourth frontier question examines the various elements of biodiversity (genetic, taxonomic, and functional) and the effects of recent biodiversity loss in the polar regions resulting from anthropogenic changes in the environment and the climate system, as well as changes in human development. Finally, the fifth frontier question aims to determine the increasing ecosystem impacts and responses to human activities (e.g., fishing, tourism, and resource extraction) in the polar regions.
To begin to address these questions, workshop participants discussed the need for a holistic, interdisciplinary systems approach to understanding polar ecosystem responses to climate change. As an outcome of the workshop, participants brainstormed methods and technologies (see Chapter 3) that are crucial to advance the understanding of polar ecosystems and to promote the next generation of polar research. These include new and emerging technologies, sustained long-term observations, data synthesis and management, and data dissemination and outreach.