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Linking primary producers to top-predators: The role of capelin and sandeel in the Godthåbsfjord area


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Marine ecosystems
Project topic
Ecosystems, aquatic
Fish and shellfish

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Fieldwork region
Greenland, Mid-West
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 64.581543261794, -51.333618164062

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan

This project will investigate the distribution, abundance, feeding and condition of capelin and sandeel in the Godthåbsfjord area. Capelin and sandeel are zooplanktorous fishes that in other areas are important for the transfer of energy to the highest tropic levels. Due to their life-history, - short lived and highly fecund, their population dynamics are heavily impacted by changes in the oceanographic conditions. Spatial and interannual changes in their growth and condition (e.g. lipid content) are likewise dictated by prey availability and oceanographic conditions, especially temperature. Consequently, their value as prey for top predators varies spatially and temporally. 

In this project we will determine the abundance and distribution of capelin using standard acoustic survey designs and for sandeel in addition by using trawl, dredges and grabs. Distribution, feeding, growth and lipid content will be estimated and related to spatial and temporal variation in primary and secondary production, and related to oceanographic features such as vertical structuring, mixing, fronts and freshwater distribution. Moreover, the distribution of these two fish species will be related to the distribution of known predators. The study will allow us to evaluate the importance of these two species for the Godthaabsfjord ecosystem, and assess the potential impact of ecosystem changes such as increased freshwater input and increasing temperatures.

Site: Sanna cruise in Godthåbsfjorden, Nuuk, Greenlandd

PI: Peter Grønkjær. Project participants: Martin Blicher (GCRC), Rasmus Hedeholm (GINR) Malene Simon (GINR), Nathalie Danielsen (AU), Peter Grønkjær (AU)

Fieldwork summary / photo blog

Link to ARC photo blog