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Eco system patterns and processes at retreating glaciers


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Terrestrial ecosystems
Project topic
Climate research
Ecosystems, terrestrial
Glacier - ocean coupling

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork region
Greenland, South-West
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 65.245897296841, -50.207253472656

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan

The retreating glacier in the bottom of the Godthåbsfjord provides a unique opportunity for examining patterns in the successional changes in central terrestrial ecosystem parameters, and to contrast and compare these too those from the limnic system. The present project will establish a transect going from the glacier front and outwards. Along this 5m wide and app. 5km long transect we will apply two approaches to characterize the development in the ecosystem (outlined below). Firstly, we will record plant species composition in all sediment-covered areas ((separated by >500m). Secondly, within these areas we will establish a number of replicate plots in which we will determine the biodiversity of the three of the most important compartments of the terrestrial ecosystem (plants, above-ground arthropod and soul fauna communities). Additionally, we will link these multi-trophic patterns of biodiversity to the fundamental ecosystem process of trace gas exchange within the various plots. The chrono-sequence in front of the glacier allows us to quantify the linkage between biodiversity, carbon dioxide exchange and emission of reactive organic trace gases across a time series of vegetation communities reflecting a series of vegetation maturation towards the climax successional stage.

Site: Isua area, Nuuk, Greenland

PI: Niels M. Schmidt

Fieldwork summary / photo blog: Link to ARC photo blogs: 1) Fjord gradients, 2) Ice retreat