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Important progress has been made in recent decades to describe and understand how arctic terrestrial vertebrate interact, especially concerning predator-prey interactions. Indirect interactions between different prey species modulated by shared predators (e.g. Arctic fox) are believed to have important impacts on the structure and/or dynamics of some communities. Yet, our understanding of these types of interactions is still fragmentary. To fill that gap, we will build on ongoing projects exploring related questions in Canada (Marie-Andrée Giroux, Nicolas Lecomte, Joël Bêty) and Greenland (Olivier Gilg, Niels M. Schmidt), while taking advantage of existing networks (ADSN in North America and “Interactions” program in Greenland and Eurasia). The aim of the project is to promote the implementation of several common protocols that will (1) improve each collaborator’s knowledge at the site level and, more importantly, that will (2) be merged across sites and years to improve our understanding of the functioning and the influence of indirect interactions on arctic vertebrate communities in general.

Five types of data have been identified (by the 5 initiators of the project already mentioned above) as being mandatories to answer questions related to this topic. These data sets will be collected using 5 specific protocols described in the following chapters:

  1. Monitor predation pressure using artificial nests
  2. Monitor real predation pressure on Calidris nests using Tiny Tags
  3. Observations of predators and lemmings (3b: fox scats DNA barcoding)
  4. Assessing lemming (or “rodent”) relative abundance using different methods
  5. Assessing “herbivores” (excl. rodents) relative abundance using “faeces transects”
Arctic Biodiversity Biological effects Biology Climate change Diet Ecosystems Environmental management Food webs Modelling Populations Reproduction Spatial trends Temporal trends Terrestrial mammals
2. FUVIRC-Finnish Ultraviolet International Research Centre

FUVIRC will serve ecosystem research, human health research and atmospheric chemistry research by providing UV monitoring data and guidance (i.e. calibration of instruments, maintenance of field test sites), research facilities (laboratories and accommodation), instruments and equipment.

Arctic Atmosphere Biodiversity Biological effects Biology Climate change Ecosystems Forest damage Geophysics Human health ozone Populations Reindeer Temporal trends UV radiation
3. LAPBIAT-Lapland Atmosphere-Biosphere facility

The main objective of the facility is to enhance the international scientific co-operation at the seven Finnish research stations and to offer a very attractive and unique place for multidisciplinary environmental and atmospheric research in the most arctic region of the European Union. Factors such as, arctic-subarctic and alpine-subalpine environment, northern populations, arctic winters with snow, changes in the Earth's electromagnetic environment due to external disturbances and exceptionally long series of observations of many ecological and atmospheric variables should interest new users.

Arctic Atmosphere Atmospheric processes Biodiversity Biological effects Biology Climate Climate change Climate variability Data management Ecosystems Emissions Environmental management Exposure Geophysics Human health Local pollution Long-range transport Modelling ozone Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Populations Reindeer Spatial trends Temporal trends UV radiation
4. Role of contaminants in seaduck population decline: metals in oldsquaw

In order to determine the role of contaminants in declining populations of seaducks, it is proposed that: (1) archived samples of Oldsquaw collected from their Canadian arctic breeding grounds be analyzed for Hg, Se and Cu (in liver), Cd (in kidney), Pb (in wing bone), and selected samples be screened for a wider range of metals (in liver), and (2) archived samples of Oldsquaw wing bone be analyzed for stable isotopes (13C/12C; 15N/14N, and 34S/32S) and strontium (Sr) to discriminate whether birds from certain geographical areas of the Arctic are overwintering in freshwater (i.e. Great Lakes) or marine environments.

Populations Heavy metals stable isotopes Exposure Arctic oldsquaw metals
5. Restoration of the salmon stock in the Tuloma river system

The possibility of restoring the salmon stocks in the Tuloma system is assessed by collecting background information on the river system: present fish fauna, habitat quality, migratory routes etc. Planning the restoration including technical and management aspects is under way.

Biological effects Biology Populations Hydrography Catchment studies Fish Indigenous people Acidification Spatial trends Modelling Biodiversity Arctic Reproduction Diet Temporal trends Ecosystems
6. Monitoring of the Atlantic salmon stocks of the Teno (Tana) and Näätämö (Neidenelva) river systems, northernmost Fennoscandia.

Monitoring of the salmon stocksof the Teno and Näätämö river systems is based on long term data collection on juvenile salmon production, biological characteristics of the spawning stock, origin of salmon (wild/reared) and statistics on fishery and catches. Information on other fish species than salmon is also available.

Biological effects Biology Populations Hydrography Catchment studies Fish Indigenous people Acidification Spatial trends Modelling Biodiversity Arctic Reproduction Diet Temporal trends Ecosystems
7. ZERO-database

The ZERO database contains all validated data from the Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations Basic Programmes (ClimateBasis, GeoBasis, BioBasis and MarinBasis). The purpose of the project is to run and update the database with new validated data after each succesfull field season. Data will be available for the public through the Zackenberg homepage linking to the NERI database. The yearly update is dependent on that each Basis programme delivers validated data in the proscribed format.

Biological effects Hydrography Geophysics Climate Polar bear GIS Sediments Marine mammals Biology Populations Soils UV radiation Fish Discharges Sea ice Climate change Terrestrial mammals Ice Biodiversity River ice Arctic Seabirds Geochemistry Reproduction Permafrost Ecosystems
8. Physiological studies of arctic birds

The activity in 2004 will be devoted to two projects: First, we will perform banding of breeding adult Kittiwakes in the Kongsfjord area. The Kittiwakes will in addition to standard metal rings be equipped with a colour-ring with a combination of letters and numbers, making identification at a distance easier. This banding programme was initiated in 2003 and will in the coming years be used to calculate local survival rates of the Kittiwakes breeding the Kongsfjord area. Secondly, we intend to place a number of breeding boxes for Snow Buntings in the Ny-Ålesund area. In the coming years this will make access to breeding adults and nestlings easier enabling physiological studies. These studies will focus on various aspects of metabolism and energetics of the breeding population of Snow Bunting on Svalbard, and we also want to compare the physiology of the Svalbard population with the breeding populations on ’mainland’ Norway.

Biology Populations Seabirds Reproduction
9. ARCTAPHID: biology and ecology of aphid populations in arctic environment.

In a context of global change, arctic ecosystems are exposed to deep modifications not only of the biology and ecology of endemic species but also of the interactions they may have with an increasing number of introduced species. This project attempts to assess in Svalbard, the impacts of global changes on aphids. These phytophagous insects are particularly relevant organisms for studies on the effects of global warming and biological invasion because 1) of their extreme sensitivity to micro- and macro- changes due to their spectacular rate of increase and phenotypic plasticity and 2) of their colonizing capacity conferred by their parthenogenetic mode of reproduction and their dispersal potential

ecology Biological effects Biology Populations adaptation Climate change life cycle invasive species Arctic Reproduction aphids Ecosystems
10. Behavioral and evolutionary implications of strict monogamy. An experimental approach in panarctic seagull: the black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding in Alaska

This project's goal is to experimentally study strict monogamy in a panarctic seagull, the black-legged kittiwake, in Alaska. It studies mate choice (which is crucial because no mixed strategy is used) in relation to indivdual quality, fitness and sexual conflict in strictly monogamous species. It is rooted in a detailed knowledge of the species’ biology and the merging of three teams (French, Austiran and Alaskan) with long-term experience researching kittiwakes. It uses the unique experimental Alaskan setting for wild populations.

Evolution Biology Sperm competition Populations Mate choice Biodiversity Arctic Seabirds Reproduction Sexual Selection Behavioural Ecology

Fieldwork amongst Yakut horse breeders and the other inhabitants of the extreme east of Siberia, whose existence shows a link with horses, will facilitate an understanding of the unusual features of horse breeding in the Arctic regions. The comparison of the results with the existing sources will enable us to highlight the importance of the horse figure in the various cultural domains of the Sakha people and the similarities and differences that have developed since written records began, i.e. as of the mid 17th century.

Populations Indigenous people Arctic Reindeer Horse Human intake
12. Living in a spatially structured environment: evolutionary ecology of seabird-parasite interactions

The aim of this research program is to examine the response of animal populations to environmental variability at different spatial scales. We attempt to determine how individuals respond to the spatial heterogeneity of their environment, and what are the consequences of this response for the dynamics of subdivided populations. Specifically, we consider an ecological system involving biotic interactions at three levels: seabirds, their tick _Ixodes uriae_, and the microparasite _Borrelia burgdorferi_ sensu lato (Lyme disease agent). Colonies of seabirds represent discrete entities, within and among which parasites can circulate. Our previous work on this system in the norwegian arctic has enable us to show that (1) host dispersal can be affected by local conditions, (2) seabird tick populations are specialised among different host species, namely between sympatric kittiwakes _Rissa tridactyla_ and puffins _Fratercula arctica_, (3) in the kittiwake, females transmit antibodies against _Borrelia burgdorferi_ when their chicks have a high probability to be exposed to the tick vector. We propose to combine different approaches, incorporating field surveys and experiments and population genetic studies (of hosts and parasites), in order to better understand the role of local interactions and dispersal in the dynamics of such a system. The research program implies collaborations with researchers from other french groups, as well as with Canadian (Queen’s University) and Norwegian colleagues (from NINA and the University of Tromsø).

Biology Populations Epidemiology Evolutionary ecology Spatial trends Biodiversity Seabirds Ecosystems

The objectives of this project is to study the effect of environmental stochasticity on the Svalbard reindeer population dynamics, nad further evaluate how this may affect reindeer-plant interactions.

Biological effects Biology Populations Climate variability Climate Climate change Terrestrial mammals Arctic Reindeer Temporal trends Ecosystems
14. Lake Myvatn and the River Laxá

The aim is to monitor the Lake Myvatn and the river Laxá ecosystem for (1) detecting trends, (2) detecting background variability in the system, (3) assess the efficiency of management measures, (4) observe perturbations in order to generate hypotheses about causal relationships.

Biological effects Biology Populations Catchment studies Fish Spatial trends Environmental management Mining Waterbirds Modelling Biodiversity Arctic Local pollution Food webs Sediments Diet Temporal trends Ecosystems
15. Biodiversity and adaptation strategies of Arctic coastal marine benthos

The objectives of the project are to assess: 1) the present biodiversity of benthos in Arctic coastal ecosystems (White Sea, southern Barents Sea, Pechora Sea), and indicators for changes caused by disturbances; 2) the adaptations to the Arctic climate for some benthic key-species, the additional influence of disturbance and the sensitivity of the key-species to additional stress from disturbances; 3) the geochemical background of the regions Research activities: Annual missions by ship for sampling water, sediments and macrobenthos. Biodiversity analysis of macrobenthos in sediments in laboratories in Murmansk (MMBI) and Tromsø (Akvaplan-Niva), ecophysiological analyses in laboratories of St. Petersburg (ZISP), Yerseke (NIOO-CEMO) and Pisa (UN), analyses of pollutants in laboratories in Moscow (MSU), Nantes(UN) and Pisa (UP), geochemical analyses of water and sediment in laboratories of Moscow (MSU) and Barcelona (UB). Training of 3 PhD students

key species Biological effects Biology Populations indicators Heavy metals Climate variability Climate change Biodiversity Sediments Ecosystems genetics benthos
16. Barents Sea Marine Ecosystem

This study aims at reconstructing the Barents Sea marine ecosystem before the exploitation by man. This reconstruction will be made by using the existing archival resources on catch statistics from the 17th to 19th centuries in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom, in combination with the present knowledge an animal behaviour and food web structure. Fieldwork is planned in two former hunting areas in Spitsbergen: the Smeerenburgfjord and the Storfjord to study both the structure of the recent marine ecosystem and the composition, size and dating of the recent bird rookeries. This information in combination with the historical data will be used to reconstruct the original ecosystem.

whaling Biology Populations Biodiversity Seabirds Food webs Ecosystems Marine mammals
17. Population ecology of arctic geese in relation to natural predation pressure

In order to manage populations of migratory geese a better understanding of the mechanisms that determine the size of these populations is needed. The objective of this project is to investigate such mechanisms, within the framework of the entire population of Dark-bellied Brent Geese, that winters in western Europe, and breeds in northern Siberia. The final objective of this project is to help predict future numbers of geese that will winter in western Europe in order to be able to forecast levels of agricultural damage caused by geese. Though hunting is an important factor determining the size of most goose populations, this is not a focal point in this project. Therefore this project focuses on a virtually non-hunted subspecies, viz. the Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Research activities Field work has been carried out in the Pyasina-delta in northern Taymyr, Russia during six consecutive summers from 1990 - 1995 in order to cover two complete lemming cycles. The project focuses the one hand on natural predators (like arctic foxes, Snowy Owls, Glaucous Gulls and Herring Gulls, and even Polar Bears) as a regulatory mechanism for the Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a virtually non-hunted subspecies. Lemming cycles have an important effect on the abundance and behaviour of most of these predators, and measuring lemming density forms an integral part of this study. On the other hand weather conditions, as well as the body condition of the geese themselves are being studied, because those factors are in themselves extremely important predictors of breeding success.

Biology Populations lemmings Biodiversity geese Food webs predation Reproduction breeding sucess Ecosystems
18. Greenland Right Whale

The ecology of the Greenland Right Whale is studied using the historical information from written sources from Dutch archives. The Spitsbergen and Davis Strait populations of the Greenland Right Whale were so heavily hunted that they are almost exterminated now in the northern waters. The whale bones on the beaches of Arctic islands are the archaeological evidences of this exhausting hunt. Very often whaling logbooks, crew statements and lists of catch figures are the only sources of information preserved of this animal in these regions. In this project recent biological information of the animal in the seas around Alaska and historical information of the whale in the North Atlantic and Davis Strait is used to reconstruct the migration, distribution and ecological behaviour of the Greenland Right Whale in the North Atlantic Ocean.

whaling Biology whales Populations Biodiversity Marine mammals
19. Ecological energetics of Arctic breeding birds

Large numbers of birds breed each summer on the tundra of the northern hemisphere. Two prominent groups in the Arctic bird fauna are waders and waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans). Breeding, which is an energetically costly activity (Drent & Daan 1980), is especially costly in the high Arctic. This is mainly due to low temperatures and high wind speeds in an open landscape (Piersma & Morrison 1994, Wiersma & Piersma 1994). In addition, the summer period is very short. This leaves little time for necessary pre-breeding, breeding and post-breeding activities. Thus, costs are high and available time is short. In order to reach their breeding grounds, arctic birds have to migrate over vast distances between their Arctic breeding sites and temperate or tropical wintering grounds. Migration is also an energetically costly event. This generally high rate of living puts high demands on the birds and we may expect the birds to have evolved a wide range of physiological and behavioural adaptations. Given the inaccessibility of most tundra areas and the necessity of relatively advanced techniques, ecological energetic studies of wader and waterfowl are relatively scarce (with the notable exception of tundra breeding Nearctic geese). With this project we aim at measuring and describing some important energy turnover processes of waders and waterfowl during the short and hectic Arctic summer and to evaluate them in an evolutionary context. We will pay particular attention to the importance of energy and nutrient stores with which the birds arrive at the breeding grounds for egg production, energy turnover of breeding birds in relation to species and microclimate, and the fat deposition and basal metabolism of birds preparing for autumn migration. The project is partly a continuation of work carried out during the Swedish-Russian Tundra Ecology Expedition 1994 (TE-94). Research activities: Capital vs. income breeders Since the favourable season is short for Arctic breeding birds, they are hard pressed to start egg laying immediately after arrival at the breeding grounds. However, upon arrival food availability is often low. It is thought that female birds planning to start a family on the tundra are forced to produce a clutch using, at least to some degree, body reserves accumulated prior to or during their migratory journey. Birds using such a strategy are called capital breeders, in contrast to income breeders' that only use resources obtained during the reproductive period (Drent & Daan 1980). We seek to investigate how commonly the capital breeder strategy is on the Nearctic tundra and how its use varies with: - Species: large species are expected to be more dependent on this - Strategy as their breeding seasons are longer and they are thus more time stressed. - Site: birds at sites where circumstances allow an early start of the breeding season may not be equally dependent on capital breeding than birds using late sites. - Timing: early arriving birds are more pressed to use the capital breeding strategy than late arriving birds, the latter being able to produce eggs from the food available upon arrival. The different potential food sources to birds often have distinct isotopic ratios of C12/C13 and N14/N15 depending on environment and metabolic characteristics. Isotopic ratios of C and N can therefore serve as a kind of fingerprint for these food stuffs. These specific ratios will ultimately also be reflected in the isotopic composition of the consumers tissues; especially with regard to C12/C13 ratios (Hobson & Clark 1992). Distinct differences may therefore also be expected in tissue isotope ratios of newly hatched young from capital and non-capital breeders. Such differences may also appear within nests in case the female has used a mixed strategy. Although in developing tissues these differences may rapidly fade away, isotope differences between young may be fixed in down feathers already present at hatching. Comparing the isotope ratios in down samples within broods with isotope ratios in potential food sources at the breeding ground thus provides a clue to the extend the mother made use of the capital breeding strategy. We will collect down, feathers and blood from all birds trapped. We will concentrate on waders, yet, also waterfowl are of high interest (although the chances to trap birds are smaller). Of highest priority will be down from chicks and blood from parent birds. In likely foraging areas of parents and chicks that we have sampled, we will collect insects and plants and other possible food sources. At the NIOO the samples will be analysed for C12/C13 and N14/N15 ratios using mass spectrometry. The fact that we will visit many different habitats with different climate, foraging conditions and phenology is a major prerequisite for successfully conducting this part of the project. Energy turnover of brooding birds The few available measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE) of incubating waders in tundra regions, using the doubly labelled water (DLW) method, have shown that breeding in the High Arctic is indeed costly (Piersma & Morrison 1994, Piersma et al. unpublished data from Siberia). The high cost stems from the combined effects of low temperatures and high wind speeds in an open landscape, but may also be affected by the birds own intense foraging activities. However, the measurements that have become available up till now do not cover the whole "climate space" that arctic breeding waders encounter, due to the bias in study sites and the particularities of weather conditions during the few studies that have been carried out. We would like to extend the series of measurements using DLW in incubating waders of more species than hitherto available and under more environmental conditions. Field measurements of DEE involve initial capture of a bird on the nest, loading it with DLW and recapturing the bird after a certain period of time, usually 24-48 hours. There is room for improvement over the earlier studies in monitoring the loaded birds activity budget (using transponders, small radiotags and/or nest/egg temperature recorders) and in assaying the birds physiological status. Apart from mass and size variable, birds could probably be assayed for the thickness of the breast muscle (a heat generating part of the body) and the size of the stomach (as an indicator of the digestive apparatus) using ultrasound. These techniques are under development at NIOZ and the University of Groningen at the moment. Equally, body composition in terms of fat and lean components could be estimated from dilution factors after quantitative DLW injections. It is crucial to simultaneously measure the meteorological variables air temperature, wind speed and global solar radiation, and hence a weather station has to be brought to the study sites to this effect. Fat deposition and basal metabolism of birds preparing for autumn migration Waders need high-performing bodies to cope with their energetically high rate of living. This is reflected in their basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR of an animal is the energy it spends at rest (i.e., at night for day-active animals), in thermoneutral conditions, without processing food, and when it is not involved in productive activities like reproduction, moult or growth. The BMR of a bird may be compared with the fuel consumption of a car engine that is running idle. A Formula-One car, that operates at an incredibly high rate also has a high cost of running idle. A standard car with a less impressive engine takes less energy to keep running. As the cost of running idle reflects the potential power of an engine, the BMR reflects the potential rate of work of an animal body. Waders have comparatively high BMR compared to other non-passerine birds (Kersten & Piersma 1987). Moreover, studies of captive Knots have shown that they vary their BMR over the year (Piersma et al. 1995). In addition, waders trapped during the first part of their autumn migration in Arctic Eurasia were found to have higher BMR than their conspecifics at tropical wintering grounds in Africa (Kersten et al. in press, Lindström in press a). This all suggests that waders can adjust the size of their engine which makes sense, since the best solution would be to have a strong engine when circumstances so demand, and a smaller engine during more relaxed parts of the year (for example at wintering grounds in Africa; Klaassen et al. 1990). Although we are actually most interested in the long-term maximum rate of energy expenditure as a measure of adaptations to a high rate of living, this is very difficult to measure, and especially so in a comparable way. Instead, the BMR, which is supposed to reflect the maximum energy turnover potential, is fairly easy to measure, and figures from different investigations can be compared. During TE-94, 24 juvenile waders of five different species were measured for their BMR in a respirometer (Lindström in press a). We want to continue this work by including birds of new species, and of the same species but from another breeding area. Juvenile birds will be caught during the first parts of the autumn migration (mainly August) in portable and walk-in traps. They are then brought to the ship where they will be measured in the respirometer. The BMR values will be compared to those obtained during TE-94 and with data from the migration and the wintering grounds in America and Europe to look for inter- and intra-specific patterns. Whereas it is fairly well known that many (most ?) wader species put on huge energy reserves prior to migration to the Arctic, almost nothing is known about the size of reserves carried by waders prior to departure from the Arctic. This is necessary to know in order to understand the migration strategies adopted (Alerstam & Lindström 1990) and when analysing migration routes. During TE-94 almost 300 juvenile waders were trapped during August, most of them being Little Stints Calidris minuta. It was revealed that also when migrating from the Arctic, substantial energy reserves were put on (Lindström in press b). We now want to collect corresponding data from the Nearctic. Whereas much is known about the size of energy reserves of migration waders further south in America (for example, McNeil & Cadieux 1972, Thompson 1974, Johnson et al. 1989, Driedzic et al. 1993), we know of no such data from the Nearctic region.

ducks Biology waders Populations breeding success energetics swans Biodiversity geese survival strategies Reproduction wildfowl migration
20. Bewick's Swan ecology of migration and reproduction in the Pechora Delta, Russia

International cooperative research program (field work in 1992-1996) on Bewick's Swans, on ecological limitations in the annual cycle, mainly during periods of high energy expenditure, i.e. breeding and migration. Relates to feeding ecology (both terrestrial and aquatic (pondweed tubers) vegetation, annual variation in climatic conditions. Aims at: 1. understanding limiting factors for population size (production of young and survival) 2. understanding migratory behaviour in this large species 3. protecting crucial areas for breeding, moulting and migrating for this vulnerable swan population Research activities: - Field expeditions (2-5 months) to the Arctic, covering the entire breeding season, including moult and pre-migratory fattening - Running a ringing project with over 1,000 individually marked birds - Data analysis and publications

Biology Populations breeding success survival swans Biodiversity Reproduction migration behaviour