Terrestrial trophic dynamics in the Canadian Arctic

Charles J. Krebs*, Kjell Danell, Anders Angerbjörn, Jep Agrell, Dominique Berteaux, Kari Anne Bråthen, Öje Danell, Sam Erlinge, Vadim Fedorov, Karl Fredga, Joakim Hjältén, Göran Högstedt, Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir, Alice J. Kenney, Nils Kjellén, Torgny Nordin, Heikki Roininen, Mikael Svensson, Magnus Tannerfeldt, Christer Wiklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The Swedish Tundra Northwest Expedition of 1999 visited 17 sites throughout the Canadian Arctic. At 12 sites that were intensively sampled we estimated the standing crop of plants and the densities of herbivores and predators with an array of trapping, visual surveys, and faecal-pellet transects. We developed a trophic-balance model using ECOPATH to integrate these observations and determine the fate of primary and secondary production in these tundra ecosystems, which spanned an 8-fold range of standing crop of plants. We estimated that about 13% of net primary production was consumed by herbivores, while over 70% of small-herbivore production was estimated to flow to predators. Only 9% of large-herbivore production was consumed by predators. Organization of Canadian Arctic ecosystems appears to be more top-down than bottom-up. Net primary production does not seem to be herbivore-limited at any site. This is the first attempt to integrate trophic dynamics over the entire Canadian Arctic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-843
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


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