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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 submitted proposal aims to perform the monitoring of the pollen rain in the Greenland atmosphere by distinguishing the local pollen production, relatively low, from pollen grains originating from other Arctic areas. A regular monitoring of the atmospheric pollen content must be performed in order to evaluate the amount emitted and characterise the seasonality of the emission. A comparison with air mass trajectories must allow the modelling of long distance transport
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).
Study of secondary metabolites and peptides produced by arctic plants. The aim of the project is the chemical and biochemical analysis of arctic plants such as Saxifraga spp., Artemisia borealis and Pedicularis dasyantha and others, for the search of compounds (secondary metabolites and peptides) to be employed as potential new drugs The basic working program in the arctic base will focus on the collection and preliminary work up (extraction, initial fractionation) of vegetal tissues from arctic plant species and their storage for the subsequent finer analyses
The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.
On thin Ice
The effects of climate change in a dynamic competitive interaction between two or more species can be bought about either as direct responses of species to change or indirectly through effects on competing species. Intertidal barnacles are ideal model organisms to test these alternative causal mechanisms, being easily censussed and directly competing for space. Single- and multi- species models will be developed for barnacles in SW England to determine whether direct or indirect mechanisms better predict responses to change. The models will include functions for space-limitation, environmental influence and, in the latter models, functions for interspecific competition. Historical data from a network of sites collected over a 40-year period will be used to develop and test the models.
Distribution • What is the current distribution of coral colonies in the North Sea? • Where are coral colonies located on the structures? • Do any colonies show evidence of exposure to drill cuttings? Monitoring & Environmental Recording • What hydrodynamic regime and levels of suspended particulate material are coral colonies exposed to? • Does the coral skeleton retain an archive of any past contamination? • Does skeletal growth vary over time and does this correlate with any past contamination? • How variable is the rate of coral growth and does this correlate with any environmental variables? Environmental Sensitivity • What effect does increased sediment load have on coral behaviour and physiology? • What effect does exposure to discharges (e.g. cuttings and produced water) have on coral behaviour and physiology? • Are such exposures realistic in the field?
The aim is to study the diversity and function of marine bacteria closely associated with marine sponges. The special character of life strategy of the community (symbiosis – commensalism), with special emphasis to the identity and the recruitment of bacteria during live cycle of the sponges will be described.
Since nearly all microalgae are associated with bacteria and some harbor intracellular bacteria, it is most likely that these bacteria are involved in the development or termination of natural occurring plankton assemblages. The diversity and development of associated bacteria in microalgae cultures and during phytoplankton succession will be described by molecular analysis of the bacterial community structure and by phylogenetic analysis of involved microorganisms.
Little is known about the consistency or phylogenetic affiliation of accociated intra- or extracellular bacterial populations in Echinodermata. Because certain taxa harbour bacteria and other not, these associations are presumably originated by coevolution and not by ecological circumstances. The intestine of echinodermata is populated by huge amounts of bacteria. Due to the different feeding strategy of echinoderms it is controversly discussed whether these bacteria are passively taken up or if they are permanently present. Hence it will be possible to elucidate if vertical transmission occurs or bacteria are recruted. With the knowledge of phylogenetic affiliations of microbial symbionts and their distribution (or localization) in different hosts, the physiological/biochemical status of the association will be investigated. The main emphasis will be the characterization of the in situ situation by adequate histological techniques (crysectioning) and “passive” (FT-IR) or “active” chemical imaging (confocal imaging, using fluorescent enzyme substrates or physiological dyes). The main experimental work in this WP bases on the creation of 16S-rDNA sequence libraries of echinoderrm associated bacteria (SCB & intestinal). Signature sequences will be analyzed and specific gene probes will be designed and applied.
HIMOM will aim to provide a system of methods, the so-called Hierarchical Monitoring Methods (or HMM), to determine system status and changes which are expressed by biological and physical variations within inter-tidal areas. The HMM will aim to provide a management strategy tailored to the needs of End User involved in activities relating to the sustainable development of tidal flat areas around Europe. The HMM system will represent a hierarchical suite of activities, ranging from simple ground measurements of biota and physical characteristics to remote sensing of spectral reflectance properties for the analysis of basin scale systems.
To study the organisms involved in phytoplankton succession and the Key factors involved. This includes Bacteria-Algae, Algae-zooplankton and Zooplankton-Fish interactions. Aspects such as algal-grazer defence mechanisms and digestability of alage are core topics.
The succession of macro- and microalgal communities in the Antarctic will be investigated in field experiments under various UV radiation (UVR) conditions and in the absence or presence of grazers. The observed differences in the succession process will be correlated to physiological traits of single species, especially in spores and germlings, which are the most vulnerable stages in their life histories. Photosynthetic activity of the different developmental stages will be measured routinely. Additionally we plan the determination of pigment composition, C:N ratios, content of UV protective pigments and of possible DNA damage. The experiments will start in spring, concomitant to the time of highest UVBR, due to the seasonal depletion of the ozone layer in the Antarctic region. Supplemental laboratory experiments will be conducted to determine the effects of UVR on spores and germlings of individual species. In addition to the above analyses, we plan to examine of UVR induced damage of cell fine structure and of the cytoskeleton. The results of both the field and laboratory experiments will allow us to predict the consequences of enhanced UVR for the diversity and stability of the algal community.
In the late seventies, ELLIOTT and KINGSTON (1987) discovered a polychaetous annelid in various North Sea estuaries that had previously been found only in North American estuaries. Further specimens of what appeared to be the same species were found in the mid-eighties in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea (BICK and BURCKHARDT, 1989). The distribution of these events in time and space led to the assumption that a North American species had immigrated to the North Sea and then extended its range of distribution to the Baltic. Within several years this species became one of the most dominant species in these estuaries. Identification of the immigrant was beset with problems from the start. It was identified as M. wireni AUGENER, 1913 or as M. viridis (VERRILL, 1873). It was the population genetic studies by BASTROP et al. (1995) and ROEHNER et al. (1996a, b) that showed the presence of genetically distinct forms in the North and Baltic Sea as well as in different regions of the north eastern coast of America. The morphological studies undertaken against this background allowed a good discrimination between these species (BICK & ZETTLER, 1997). Though, all authors dealing with the two species immigrated into the European estuaries were unable to name these species. The main reasons for this uncertainty are: - species identification is difficult, because diagnostic characters vary with growth (BICK, 1995), - the geographical distribution of Marenzelleria species is far from clear, - type material no longer exists or it is in poor condition (BICK & ZETTLER, 1997). Specimens of the type species of the genus, Marenzelleria wireni, were recorded from the Arctic region, Franz-Joseph Land and Spitzbergen (WIREN, 1883 and von MARENZELLER, 1892). As mentioned above, these specimens deposited in the Zoologisches Museum Hamburg and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm are in poor condition. As far as we know further material from these regions does not exist. In order to eliminate the taxonomic uncertainty it is necessary to investigate morphologically and genetically specimens from the type locality.
Description of parameters of the population dynamics of polar bivalve communities, first year: growth and reproductive cycle of the dominant Greenland cockles (Serripes groenlandicus)
Biological nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria is a key process for productivity in terrestrial Arctic ecosystems and the activity is dependent of size and diversity of cyanobacterial populations. Changes in biodiversity after pertubations of different types of habitats simulating climatic changes or other antropogenic effects will be studied by molecular methods and correlated to variations of nitrogen fixation activity.
The structure and role of the cyanobacterial communities that colonise bare soils and fix nitrogen in the arctic ecosystem will be studied. The planned activities will focus on the isolation, identification and characterisation of cyanobacteria from arctic habitats and on the changes of the cyanobacterial community along a transect from a retreating glacier front to a more stable habitat characterised by the presence of mature vegetation. For these purposes, a polyphasic approach encompassing microbiological, morphological and molecular techniques will be applied to environmental samples and isolated cultures. The obtained results will give new insights on the diversity and role of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria in the arctic and, in more general terms, on ecosystem development under changing climatic conditions.
Observation how UV-radiation affects recruitment on hard substrate in the upper sublitoral zone.
1. To compare temporal influences of environmental variables (e.g. depth temperature, contaiminats) on species and families 2. To corroborate inferences made from the previous two datasets. We hope to determine whether temperature is still the most important variable influencing the macrofauna 3. To analyse between temporal and spatial trends to determine whether there has been any significant change in the benthic community structure, especially at stations near past exploration activity 4. To compare results with those from the South of the Faroe Islands being collated by Daniel Jacobsen of the University of Copenhagen.