Arctic invertebrates (creatures without spines, i.e., insects, spiders, butterflies, moths, etc.) are highly diverse and play key ecological roles in northern systems. Invertebrates pollinate plants, cycle nutrients and decompose, are pests of wildlife, and are an important food source to highly valued birds, fish and mammals.

Invertebrates are relatively short lived and are directly influenced by factors such as temperature and snow. As a result, invertebrates are anticipated to respond early to climate change. Research is revealing how shifts in global temperatures are already influencing arthropods (invertebrates with an exoskeleton), and thus other species, including parasites and birds and mammals.

Photo:Henrik Larsson/ Photo: Rasmus Holmboe Dahl/

What does the Terrestrial Invertebrates Expert Network do?

The CBMP Terrestrial Arthropod Expert Network is tasked with advising on how to implement the invertebrate aspects of the CBMP Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan this includes:

  • communicating information on monitoring programs and approaches
  • recommending monitoring protocols, monitoring approach, and study design which leads to a harmonized, integrated circumpolar monitoring program
  • integrating empirical science and traditional knowledge
  • increasing data access, integration, analysis and reporting related to CBMP Focal Ecosystem Component attributes
  • providing information to support integrated ecosystem-based management of Arctic wildlife and resources
  • striving to ensure that plan implementation is as relevant as possible to sub-national, national, regional and circumpolar priorities and decision-making
  • ensuring that Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan implementation adds value and is coordinated with other Arctic terrestrial arthropod monitoring activities
  • being a forum for sharing progress related to the implementation of the arthropod section of the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan and discussing implications for participating countries and regions
  • advancing solutions to common issues relevant to Arctic terrestrial arthropod monitoring
  • planning and conducting communications with various groups and committees at the national, regional and local levels.

Priority activities of the Arthropod Expert Network are to:

  • identify relevant data sources, samples and networks to support potential implementation of CBMP invertebrate monitoring
  • develop, review, and test practical guidance for Arctic invertebrate monitoring
  • develop implementation approach for coordinated arthropod monitoring as described in the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan
  • assess abundance and diversity of the following arthropod functional groups: blood-feeding; pollinators; prey species for vertebrated; herbivores; and decomposers and nutrient cyclers

What does the CBMP say about terrestrial invertebrate monitoring?

The Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan details key components for monitoring blood-feeding invertebrates, pollinators, prey-species for vertebrates, decomposers and nutrient cyclers, and herbivores.  

The following attributes of these components are earmarked as essential, i.e., they give scientists the basic information needed to provide insights on ecosystem change. Other attributes are recommended. For a complete and detailed list please see the Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Montoring Plan.

Essential attributes for blood-feeding invertebrates (e.x., black fly, moose fly, deer fly, mosquito)

  • diversity (species richness)

Essential attributes for pollinators (e.x., bumble bee)

  • diversity (species richness)Ecosystem functions and processes (pollination success)
  • ecosystem functions and processes (pollination success) 

Essential attributes for vertebrate prey-species (e.x., spiders, some flies)

  • abundance, productivity and phenology (relative abundance / biomass and phenology)

Essential attributes for decomposers and nutrient cyclers (e.x., springtails, mites)

  • diversity (species richness)  abundance, and distribution

Essential attributes for herbivores (e.x., butterflies)

  • diversity (species richness)
  • ecosystem functions and processes (herbivory)

Terrestrial Invertebrate Expert Network Members

  • Canada: Chris Buddle and Sarah Loboda McGill University, Chris Ernst Simon Fraser University, Joseph Bowden Natural Resources Canada
  • Kingdom of Denmark: Paul Henning Krough and Toke Høye Aarhus University
  • Iceland: Isabel Barrio, University of Iceland, Herbivory Network, Matthias Alfredsson Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Brynja Hrafnkelsdóttir
  • US: Derek Sikes and Jozef Slowik University of Alaska Museum, Lauren Culler Dartmouth College, Amanda Koltz Washington University in St. Louis
  • Norway: Mark Gillespie Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Stephen Coulson University Centre in Svalbard
  • Sweden: Jonas Sandstrøm Swedish Species Information Centre
  • Russia: Yuri Marusik Institute for Biological Problems of the North RAS
  • UK: Peter Convey British Antarctic Survey 

Invertebrate Expert Network Publications

Ernst, C.M., S. Loboda and C.M. Buddle. 2015. Capturing northern biodiversity: diversity of arctic, subarctic and north boreal beetles and spiders are affected by trap type and habitat. Insect Conservation and Diversity. doi: 10.1111/icad.12143

Ernst, C.M. and C.M. Buddle. 2015. Drivers and patterns of ground-dwelling beetle biodiversity across northern Canada. PLOS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122163


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