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Patchy field sampling biases understanding of climate change impacts across the Arctic

Metcalfe, Daniel B. LU ; Hermans, Thirze D.G. ; Ahlstrand, Jenny ; Becker, Michael ; Berggren, Martin LU ; Björk, Robert G. ; Björkman, Mats P. ; Blok, Daan LU ; Chaudhary, Nitin LU orcid and Chisholm, Chelsea , et al. (2018) In Nature Ecology and Evolution 2(9). p.1443-1448
Abstract

Effective societal responses to rapid climate change in the Arctic rely on an accurate representation of region-specific ecosystem properties and processes. However, this is limited by the scarcity and patchy distribution of field measurements. Here, we use a comprehensive, geo-referenced database of primary field measurements in 1,840 published studies across the Arctic to identify statistically significant spatial biases in field sampling and study citation across this globally important region. We find that 31% of all study citations are derived from sites located within 50 km of just two research sites: Toolik Lake in the USA and Abisko in Sweden. Furthermore, relatively colder, more rapidly warming and sparsely vegetated sites are... (More)

Effective societal responses to rapid climate change in the Arctic rely on an accurate representation of region-specific ecosystem properties and processes. However, this is limited by the scarcity and patchy distribution of field measurements. Here, we use a comprehensive, geo-referenced database of primary field measurements in 1,840 published studies across the Arctic to identify statistically significant spatial biases in field sampling and study citation across this globally important region. We find that 31% of all study citations are derived from sites located within 50 km of just two research sites: Toolik Lake in the USA and Abisko in Sweden. Furthermore, relatively colder, more rapidly warming and sparsely vegetated sites are under-sampled and under-recognized in terms of citations, particularly among microbiology-related studies. The poorly sampled and cited areas, mainly in the Canadian high-Arctic archipelago and the Arctic coastline of Russia, constitute a large fraction of the Arctic ice-free land area. Our results suggest that the current pattern of sampling and citation may bias the scientific consensuses that underpin attempts to accurately predict and effectively mitigate climate change in the region. Further work is required to increase both the quality and quantity of sampling, and incorporate existing literature from poorly cited areas to generate a more representative picture of Arctic climate change and its environmental impacts.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nature Ecology and Evolution
volume
2
issue
9
pages
1443 - 1448
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85049951683
  • pmid:30013133
ISSN
2397-334X
DOI
10.1038/s41559-018-0612-5
project
BECC Action Group: Identifying gaps and priorities in Arctic environmental research
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8b00784d-e307-457f-bf16-79cc2af867d1
date added to LUP
2018-08-01 11:22:37
date last changed
2022-07-26 08:36:32
@article{8b00784d-e307-457f-bf16-79cc2af867d1,
  abstract     = {{<p>Effective societal responses to rapid climate change in the Arctic rely on an accurate representation of region-specific ecosystem properties and processes. However, this is limited by the scarcity and patchy distribution of field measurements. Here, we use a comprehensive, geo-referenced database of primary field measurements in 1,840 published studies across the Arctic to identify statistically significant spatial biases in field sampling and study citation across this globally important region. We find that 31% of all study citations are derived from sites located within 50 km of just two research sites: Toolik Lake in the USA and Abisko in Sweden. Furthermore, relatively colder, more rapidly warming and sparsely vegetated sites are under-sampled and under-recognized in terms of citations, particularly among microbiology-related studies. The poorly sampled and cited areas, mainly in the Canadian high-Arctic archipelago and the Arctic coastline of Russia, constitute a large fraction of the Arctic ice-free land area. Our results suggest that the current pattern of sampling and citation may bias the scientific consensuses that underpin attempts to accurately predict and effectively mitigate climate change in the region. Further work is required to increase both the quality and quantity of sampling, and incorporate existing literature from poorly cited areas to generate a more representative picture of Arctic climate change and its environmental impacts.</p>}},
  author       = {{Metcalfe, Daniel B. and Hermans, Thirze D.G. and Ahlstrand, Jenny and Becker, Michael and Berggren, Martin and Björk, Robert G. and Björkman, Mats P. and Blok, Daan and Chaudhary, Nitin and Chisholm, Chelsea and Classen, Aimée T. and Hasselquist, Niles J. and Jonsson, Micael and Kristensen, Jeppe A. and Kumordzi, Bright B. and Lee, Hanna and Mayor, Jordan R. and Prevéy, Janet and Pantazatou, Karolina and Rousk, Johannes and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Sundqvist, Maja K. and Tang, Jing and Uddling, Johan and Wallin, Göran and Zhang, Wenxin and Ahlström, Anders and Tenenbaum, David E. and Abdi, Abdulhakim M.}},
  issn         = {{2397-334X}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{9}},
  pages        = {{1443--1448}},
  publisher    = {{Nature Publishing Group}},
  series       = {{Nature Ecology and Evolution}},
  title        = {{Patchy field sampling biases understanding of climate change impacts across the Arctic}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0612-5}},
  doi          = {{10.1038/s41559-018-0612-5}},
  volume       = {{2}},
  year         = {{2018}},
}