For the first time in roughly 2 million years, melting Arctic sea ice is connecting the north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans. The newly opened passages leave both coasts and Arctic waters vulnerable to a large wave of invasive species.
It has been 2 million years since there was a connection between the north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans. The melting Arctic sea ice is now opening this up again. Biologiests warn that this passage leaves both coasts and Arctic waters vulnerable to a large wave of invasive species. Although the passage has opened up lucerative shipping routes, there are other considerations to keep in mind concerning the recent changes.
"Trans-Arctic shipping is a game changer that will play out on a global scale," said lead author Whitman Miller. "The economic draw of the Arctic is enormous. Whether it's greater access to the region's rich natural resource reserves or cheaper and faster inter-ocean commercial trade, Arctic shipping will reshape world markets. If unchecked, these activities will vastly alter the exchange of invasive species, especially across the Arctic, north Atlantic and north Pacific oceans."
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