First records of Pacific sand lance ( Ammodytes hexapterus ) in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
An increasing number of boreal marine species are expected to invade the warming Arctic Ocean with the potential to displace endemic species. We provide first evidence that Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) is expanding its range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, a region far outside the species temperate-boreal traditional range south of the Bering Strait. To the best of our knowledge, supported by local Inuit knowledge, the species was not present in the area until the present decade. We observed an increasing density of larval Pacific sand lance with time over the 2011–2016 period, suggesting that environmental conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for the species to reproduce in the Central Canadian Arctic. The northward distribution change of Pacific sand lance is occurring earlier than predicted by current models and could trigger abrupt shifts in Arctic marine food webs if the boreal invader displaces polar cod, a key prey species for top predators in Arctic marine ecosystems.