The full list of projects contains the entire database hosted on this portal, across the available directories. The projects and activities (across all directories/catalogs) are also available by country of origin, by geographical region, or by directory.
In order to assess the spatial and temporal patterns of the a-, b- and g-isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in the arctic biotic and abiotic environment, it is proposed that: (1) concentrations and ratios of HCH isomers be compared over time in air, water, seals, beluga, polar bears and seabirds to determine any shifts in isomeric ratios and how those shifts interrelate among the various media, and (2) concentrations and ratios of HCH isomers be compared spatially in the abiotic and biotic media and reasons for any patterns explored.
In order to address the the question of utility of arctic seabird eggs as an indicator of contaminant temporal trends, it was proposed that: (1) archived arctic seabird egg contents be re-analyzed for organochlorines according to a standardized pooling and analytical protocol in order to confirm whether those residues have been decreasing since the mid-1970s, (2) archived arctic seabird egg contents be analyzed for mercury and selenium to determine whether or not those levels have been increasing or decreasing since the mid-1970s, (3) egg contents and adult livers be analyzed by full scan and ICP to identify any "new" or previously unidentified organochlorines (MS full scan) or metals (ICP) which may have entered the Canadian arctic food chain.
The aim of the present project is to continue the monitoring of contaminants in air and biota in Greenland in order to detect temporal and geographical changes. Furthermore, temporal trend monitoring of selected biomarkers (e.g. bone mineral density and histopathological changes) in the polar bear populations will be initiated as these have shown to be sensitive to stressors such as contaminants. The project will provide the fundamental basic knowledge of temporal trends and feed into international geographical trend studies of mainly long range transport of contaminants in the atmosphere and biota to Greenland. The project will provide an important input to international convention works such as the Stockholm Convention and the Long-range Trans-boundary Air Pollution.
The project is a continuation of the monitoring activities of the AMAP POPs and Heavy metals programme in marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments of the Faroe Islands. The aims of the programme is to establish data for timetrend and spatial assessments as well as providing data of importance in human health risk assessment on mercury and POPs. The programme incorporates analyses on pilot whale, cod, black guillemots from the marine environment, sheep and hare from the terrestrial environment and arctic char from the freshwater environment. The compounds analysed are "legacy" POPs and mercury, cadmium and selenium. In addition, a retrospective analyses of PFOS in pilot whale tissues going back as far as possible (ie.1986) is part of the project.
The IPY-project ‘COPOL’ has a main objective of understanding the dynamic range of man-made contaminants in marine ecosystems of polar regions, in order to better predict how possible future climate change will be reflected in levels and effects at higher trophic levels. This aim will be addressed by 4 integrated work packages covering the scopes of 1) food web contaminant exposure and flux, 2) transfer to higher trophic levels and potential effects, 3) chemical analyses and screening, 4) synthesis and integration. To study the relations between climate and environmental contaminants within a project period of four years, a “location-substitutes-time”-approach will be employed. The sampling is focussed towards specific areas in the Arctic, representing different climatic conditions. Two areas that are influenced differently by different water masses are chosen; the Kongsfjord on the West-coast of Spitzbergen (79N, 12 E) and the Rijpfjord North-East of Svalbard (80N, 22 E). The main effort is concentrated in the Kongsfjord. This fjord has been identified as particularly suitable as a study site of contaminants processes, due to the remoteness of sources, and for influences of climatic changes, due to the documented relation between Atlantic water influx and the climatic index North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The water masses of the Rijpfjord have Arctic origin and serves as a strictly Arctic reference. Variable Atlantic water influx will not only influence abiotic contaminant exposure, but also food web structure, food quality and energy pathways, as different water masses carry different phyto- and zooplankton assemblages. This may affect the flux of contaminants through the food web to high trophic level predators such as seabirds and seals, due to altered food quality and energy pathways.
In addition to the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) analysed in former monitoring projects, other compounds of concern have been identified by the international community (e.g. OSPAR, AMAP), and analytical methods have been developed. These compounds include brominated flame retardants (BFRs), phthalates, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and synthetic musk compounds. The aim of this project is to screen the marine environment of East and West Greenland and the Faroe Islands for these compounds. The analyses will be based on existing samples of pilot whale and fulmars from the Faroe Islands as well as marine sediments, shorthorn sculpins, ringed seals, minke whales from West Greenland and shorthorn sculpins, ringed seals and polar bears from East Greenland. As several trophic levels of the marine Arctic food chain are taken into account, the project will also result in information on the bioaccumulation of these compounds.
AMAP has decided to prepare an assessment of the environmental impacts of oil and gas developments in the Arctic and of pollution by petroleum hydrocarbons. The assessment is planned to be ready in 2006. NERI will co-ordinate the Danish/Greenlandic contribution.
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.
The present study will establish a link between the mercury levels in the abiotic environment (e.g. historical records of mercury data in peat bogs, the ice sheet or marine sediments) with levels in carnivore species (polar bear, birds of prey). These results can be used in a model for predicting past and future development of the mercury loads in high trophic biota. This in turn will enable us to evaluate if changes in mercury levels in the atmosphere are reflected in species at higher trophic levels of the Arctic ecosystem. The project will expand the longevity and certainty of the biotic time series of mercury to about 150 years by analyzing museum samples of bird feathers and polar bear hair and teeth. The project is part of the project “Fate of mercury in the Arctic (FOMA)”.
The project studies the development through time of contaminants (heavy metals and organic pollutants) in animals in Greenland.
Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.
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.
A co-operative project between France and Norway is proposed to study the physiological mechanisms (hormones and metabolic rate) involved in the regulation of parental effort (brood size) in an Arctic-breeding seabird, the kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. This project will be carried out at Kongsfjorden (Ny Ålesund, Svalbard) which constitutes one the northernmost (79° N) breeding site of the species. The main goal of this project is to understand the reasons of the very poor productivity of the species in this high-arctic area (only one chick/pair/year compared to 2-3 chicks/ pair/year in more temperate areas). To do so, we will concurrently study the metabolic cost of chick rearing and the metabolic cost of foraging. To test whether parent kittiwakes are apparently unable to rear more than one chick, we will manipulate brood size and will measure its consequences on basal metabolic rate (BMR) and foraging activity. We will experimentally manipulate the brood size by swapping chicks between nests shortly after hatching. Parent birds of the different experimental groups will be captured, weighted and a small blood sample (500 µL) will be taken for thyroid hormones. BMR will be estimated through thyroïd hormones (Chastel et al. 2003, J. Avian Biol. 34: 298-306), a method that reduces handling time imposed by the use of a respirometer, whereas activity at sea will be estimated using miniature activity recorders (Daunt et al., 2002 Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.245 : 239-247, Tremblay et al. 2003, J. Exp. Biol. 206: 1929-1940). Nests of the different groups (12 nests with 2 chicks and 12 nest with 1 chick) will be observed during 2 weeks after what parent birds will be recaptured, and bled again for T3 assay. On an other group of birds (N=10), we will calibrate these miniature activity recorders (N=10, weight:5 g) by observing the activities (rest, brooding, flying, etc..) of the instrumented birds in the colony. Food samples (N=12) will be collected from parent birds during capture and recapture sessions (kittiwakes spontaneously regurgitate food when handled). Breeding adults and chicks will be maked with plastic rings that allow identification from a distance.
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.
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).
Surveillance of sea birds, west Spitsbergen
Examine temporal and spatial variation in trace metal concentrations in the western Arctic through the analysis of Black Guillemot feathers. Temporal trends being examined using study skins collected as early as 1897. Spatial variation examined in conjunction with carbon isotope signatures in feathers and by sampling both winter and summer plumages. Regional climate change monitored through examination of annual variation in breeding chronology and success in relation to snow and ice melt.
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.
In the seventeent and eighteenth centuries intensive European whaling and walrus hunting took place in the waters around Spitsbergen, with many stations on the coast of the islands. The hunt was carried out in areas along the edge of pack ice and is therefore very sensitive to changes in the ice situation and climate. When, around 1650, climate and ice distribution changed, whales moved to the north. The whaling stations in the south of Spitsbergen were abandoned when stations in the north were still functioning. When, later, the ice situation deteriorated in the north as well, the stations were abandoned there too. Shore whaling changed into pelagic whaling. Because of these whaling and walrus hunting activities two very numerous large mammals were largely depleted and almost disappeared from the Spitsbergen waters. The pelagically feeding Greenland Right Whale and the bentically feeding walrus, whose initial stocks are estimated at 46,000 Greenland Right Whales and 25,000 walrus, were eliminated. This elimination has caused a major shift in the foodweb. The plankton feeding seabirds and polar cod strongly increased because of the elimination of the Greenland Right Whale, and the eider ducks and bearded seals increased because of the decrease of the number of walruses. This development has led to the enormous amount of seabird rookeries on the West coast of Spitsbergen.
The ecology and breeding success of the Longtailed skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) and the Brown skua (Catheracta lonnbergi) is studied in a longterm programme. The difference in allometric growth between the different species and populations of skuas is interesting when it is related to the ecology and distribution history of these species and populations. Skuas have a dynamic distribution history and an opportunistic way of living. Populations of the same species in different localities have often a different ecology. Therefore, studies on different populations of the same species are carried out.