Zackenberg – A ecosystem approach to understanding climate effects in High arctic Greenland
Speaker: Ditte Hendrichsen (University of Copenhagen)
The Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations (ZERO) and its sister project Nuuk Basic are large scale monitoring programmes set up with the dual aim of investigating patterns and processes in undisturbed high and low arctic ecosystems, and to monitor their response to climate change. Regional climate systems, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation influence local weather conditions, with profound effects for ecosystem functioning in the region. The population dynamics of species in the Arctic is strongly affected by the seasonality of the region, and considerable inter-annual variation in snow cover, snow melt and onset of spring pose challenges for resident and migrating species which need to time their reproduction to a short Arctic summer. Extended snow cover may severely delay growth and flowering of plant species, which in turn affects the spatial distribution of herbivores. Likewise, variations in snow cover affect the availability of suitable nest sites for waders and the spatial distribution of predators and prey.