The Ecosystem Studies of Subarctic and Arctic Seas (ESSAS) Program is a regional program of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project. ESSAS objectives are to understand how climate variability and climate change affect the marine ecosystems of Subarctic and Arctic seas and their sustainability, and in turn, how changes in the marine ecosystems affect humans. The Subarctic and Arctic Seas are strongly linked with two-way exchanges of water and biota through the major gateway such as the Bering Strait, Fram Strait, the Barents Sea and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The Subarctic Seas support large stocks of commercial fish that generate a major portion of the fish landings of the nations bordering them. Both the Subarctic and Arctic marine ecosystems support subsistence fishers along their coasts, and vast numbers of marine birds and mammals. Climate-forced changes in these systems have major economic and societal impact.
ESSAS conducts research to compare, quantify, and predict the impact of climate variability and global change on the productivity and sustainability of Subarctic and Arctic marine ecosystems and their effect on humans.