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.

Displaying: 1 - 20 of 26 Next
1. BioBasis - Zackenberg

The purpose of the BioBasis programme is to monitor basic qualitative and quantitative elements of biodiversity in the terrestrial ecosystems at Zackenberg in Northeast Greenland. The programme provides data on typical High Arctic species and processes that can be expected to react on year to year variation in climate as well as long-term climate change. It includes 30 variables of terrestrial and limnic plant, arthropod, bird and mammal dynamics in the Zackenberg valley.

Biological effects Biology Fish Terrestrial mammals Modelling Ice Biodiversity Arctic Food webs Ecosystems

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
3. Netherlands Arctic Station University of Groningen

This station is one of many international stations in Ny-Aalesund, Svalbard. Traditionally research has focussed on the ecology of barnacle geese. The research now includes monitoring of plant production, vegetation change, insect phenology, arctic terns, snowbuntings, barnacle geese, reindeer and arctic foxes. Regular guests are Dutch institutions for marine research like IMARES and NIOZ and researchers from NIOO and VU.

The main objective is to study adaptations to climate warming and understanding dynamics of animal and plant populations.

grazing ornithology
4. Population Biology and Monitoring of Dunlin

Studying the population biology and monitoring the population status of Dunlin. The population under study ilives in a coatal tundra area in Northern Norway.

Biodiversity Biological effects Biology Climate variability Terrestrial Birds
5. The Terrestrial Ecosystems Monitoring Programme (TOV)

TOV is based on integrated monitoring where species and ecosystems are seen in context, providing better opportunities to interpret the results. TOV areas include seven monitoring sites in Boreal birch forest, all nature-protected areas. Lund in the south to Dividalen north is monitoring; lichen and algae on trees, ground vegetation, rodents, passerine birds, grouse, Gyrfalcon and Golden Eagle. There are also 10 Boreal spruce forest areas monitored, only for ground vegetation. The range of areas reflects both climate variability and differences in impacts from long-range pollutants throughout the country.

Monitoring of flora and vegetation includes records of species and species composition of ground vegetation and mosses, lichens and fungi on tree trunks. Fauna monitoring includes population and reproduction monitoring for species which may indicate effects of long-range transboundary air pollution, and population monitoring of key species. In addition, a nationwide survey of selected variables, prevalence of lichen and algae on trees, as well as contaminants in wildlife species and eggs from birds of prey. Observed changes are considered in relation to the influence of anthropogenic factors.

6. Monitoring of natural products in Finnish Lapland

The project monitors the artificial radioactivities in natural products in Finnish Lapland. The work mainly started after Chernobyl accident.

Fish Radioactivity Radionuclides Arctic Local pollution Reindeer Food webs
7. Human exposure to cntaminants in the traditional Greenland diet

The objective is to develope a tool that can be used as individual dietary advice. The tool can be used by health services, but also by individual internet users. The exposure can be calculate based on the food item intake, and the exposure will be compared with tolerable-acceptable intake limits

Exposure Human intake
8. Arctic Birds Breeding Conditions Survey

The Survey is aimed at improving understanding of regularities in population dynamics of Arctic terrestrial birds (in particular waterfowl) by means of collating at pan-Arctic scale information on environmental conditions on breeding areas

birds Biology Climate variability Spatial trends Terrestrial mammals Arctic Temporal trends
9. A survey of contaminants in peregrine falcon eggs from South Greenland

The primary scope of the project is to investigate the long-term time trend of brominated flame retardants for the contamination and possible effects in relation to the contamination of peregrine falcon eggs. The contamination by the conventional POP compounds will also be identified. Totally 36 out of 53 collected eggs will be analysed. Time trend analysis will be performed based on a multi-variant methodology for a period of 18 years. The result will contribute to the assessment of organic pollutant contaminationm in Greenland including the effect on vulnerable wild life.

Peregrine falcon Biological effects Organochlorines PCBs Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Pesticides Temporal trends
10. Nuuk Basic-Pilot study

The Nuuk-Basic project aims to establish a climate monitoring programme on the westcoast of Greenland. During two workshops, one being in Nuuk with field survey, framework for a future climate monitoring programme will be established. The programme builds on the concept and institutions already performing climate monitoring in NE-Greenland through ZERO (Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations).

Biological effects Climate change Biodiversity Ecosystems
11. 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
12. Wader Monitoring Project on Taimyr

The project primary goal is to relate among-year variation of tundra wader numbers and nesting success to breeding conditions on southeastern Taimyr.

Biology waders nesting success Spatial trends Arctic Temporal trends
13. Environmental contaminants in Peregrine Falcons in Alaska, USA

Contaminants were examined for trends over time, spatial variation based on disparate breeding areas, and relationships with measures of productivity. Most organochlorines and metals declined over time. Mercury was the only contaminant with possibly increasing concentrations in eggs. Egg and feather samples collected in 2000 will provide more information on mercury trends and effects. This study embodies 20 years of data on environmental contaminants in peregrine falcons nesting in Alaska.

Biological effects Organochlorines PCBs Heavy metals Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Pesticides Temporal trends
14. Tracing the natal origin of redshank (Tringa totanus) using Strontium isotopic fingerprints.

The aim of the project is to use Strontium isotopic ratios in bone and feather tissue to discriminate between the two races of redshank (Tringa totanus)that overwinter on Scottish estuaries. One race brittanica breeds in Scotland and the other, robusta breeds in Iceland. Preliminary results have shown there to be two distinct clusters of ratios for the two races enabling the racial identification of juvenile birds. It is planned to extend the study to develop other migratory tracing methods for shorebirds and wildfowl using European estuaries.

Biology shorebird Strontium isotopes migratory tracing.
15. Monitoring Beaufort Sea waterfowl and marine birds

The overall project outlined in this proposal represents a series of interrelated studies designed to answer questions regarding the effects of disturbance on distribution and abundance of waterfowl and marine birds. The primary studies (i.e., aerial surveys) are directly related to the objectives identified in the Minerals Management Service (MMS) Statement-of-work regarding Monitoring Beaufort Sea Waterfowl and Marine Birds near the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field, Alaska. Additionally, we plan to include the ‘optional’ studies on eiders using off-shore barrier island habitats. Finally, we propose to conduct ground based studies designed to enhance and expand the interpretation of the aerial surveys. The specific objectives of this study are: 1. Monitor Long-tailed Duck and other species within and among industrial and control areas in a manner that will allow comparison with earlier aerial surveys using Johnson and Gazeys’ (1992) study design. a) Perform replicate aerial surveys of five previously established transects based on existing protocol (OCS-MMS 92-0060). b) Expand the area from original surveys to include near-shore areas along Beaufort Sea coastline between the original “industrial” (Jones-Return Islands) and “control” (Stockton-Maguire-Flaxman Islands) areas. c) Define the range of variation for area waterfowl and marine bird populations. Correlate this variation with environmental factors and oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities. 2. Expand aerial monitoring approximately 50 km offshore. Surveys will target Spectacled, Common and King eiders. The goal is to sample areas potentially impacted by oil spills from the Liberty, Northstar, and/or Sandpiper Units. 3. Develop a monitoring protocol for birds breeding on barrier islands, particularly Common Eiders. These data will be compared to historic data summarized by Schamel (1977) and Moitoret (1998). 4. Examine relationships between life-history parameters (e.g., fidelity, annual survival, productivity) and ranges of variation in Long-tailed Ducks and Common Eider distribution and abundance to enhance interpretation of cross-seasonal effects of disturbance. That is, the combination of aerial and ground based work has the potential to both document changes in abundance/distribution and describe those changes in terms of movements of marked individuals. Parameters will be examined in relation to disturbance using the two-tiered approach developed by Johnson and Gazey (1992). 5. Recommend cost-effective and feasible options for future monitoring programs to evaluate numbers and species of birds potentially impacted by oil spills involving ice-free and ice periods in both inshore and offshore waters.

Biological effects Biology Organochlorines Spatial trends Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) sea ducks Reproduction Oil and Gas Temporal trends
16. 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
17. 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
18. 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
19. Goose breeding ecology: overcoming successive hurdles to raise goslings

Determining ecological constraints for Barnacle Geese during the Arctic summer to understand individual breeding success. Geese are individually marked, measured and observed over their lifetime in order to study individual reproductive strategies and their consequences. Also the interaction between the geese and their food plants is studied in detail. Research activities Every year, during summer, fieldwork in Ny Ålesund, every two years counting geese along Norden-skioldkysten. Both areas are located on Spitsbergen.

Biology breeding success Biodiversity geese
20. Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS), Food Security and Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North

Brief: Assessment of the significance of aquatic food chains as a pathways of exposure of indigenous peoples to PTS, assessment of the relative importance of local and distant sources, and the role of atmospheric and riverine transport of PTS in Northern Russia. Project rationale and objectives: (1) To assess levels of Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS) in the environment in selected areas of the Russian North, their biomagnification in aquatic and terrestrial food chains, and contamination of traditional (country) foods that are important components of the diet of indigenous peoples. (2) To assess exposure of indigenous peoples in the Russian North to PTS, and the human health impacts of pollution from local and remote sources, as a basis for actions to reduce the risks associated with these exposures. (3) To inform indigenous peoples about contamination by PTS of their environment and traditional food sources, and empower them to take appropriate remedial actions to reduce health risks. (4) To enhance the position of the Russian Federation in international negotiations to reduce the use of PTS, and to empower the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) to participate actively and fully in these negotiations. Project activities to achieve outcomes: (1) Inventory of local pollution sources in the vicinities of selected indigenous communities. (2) Survey of levels and fluxes of PTS in riverine and coastal marine environment important for indigenous peoples living in these environments and using them for their subsistence; and assessment of fluxes of PTS to these environments via selected rivers and the atmosphere. (3) Dietary surveys of selected indigenous communities. (4) Study of biomagnification, based on measurements of selected PTS in representative species in food chains important for the traditional diet of indigenous populations. (5) Survey and comparative assessment of pollution levels of the indigenous and general population in selected areas. (6) Dissemination of results to all relevant stakeholders.

GEF Catchment studies Contaminant transport Caribou Exposure Reindeer Dioxins/furans Sediments Pesticides persistent toxic substances Human intake Marine mammals Pathways Organochlorines PTS PCBs Soils Heavy metals Fish Indigenous people PAHs Long-range transport Spatial trends Terrestrial mammals Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Local pollution Seabirds Food webs Data management Diet Human health