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Arctic char species complex, distribution map

Year: 2010 Author: Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
The Arctic char species complex, sensu stricto, represent a key component of the marine and freshwater ecosystems of the north. Chars are stressed by factors such as fisheries, climate change and pollutants. We are possibly altering char biodiversity without documenting it and understanding its relevance. Concerted pan-Arctic biodiversity assessments, sustained research, and coordinated monitoring of chars are required to outline the scope of diversity present and its significance, and the mechanisms responsible for maintaining it and documenting changes. This map displays the global distribution of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) inclusive of all nominate subspecies and closely related 'species' considered to belong to this group in the narrow sense. Taxonomic forms, relationships, species diversity and ecological variation are confused and poorly known for this species complex; other char taxa overlap and extend this range (e.g., forms of Dolly Varden – S. malma). Uncertain distributional limits are indicated by dashed boundaries. Presumptive distribution boundaries of anadromous forms in marine waters are indicated in nearshore areas; anadromy is thought to be restricted to areas south of 75°N. Introduced populations in Europe are indicated in red.
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