Havgransking í Norðurhøvum
TOPLINK - Marine top predators as ecosystem indicators in the central North Atlantic
Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Bjarni Mikkelsen, Fernando Ugarte, Eva Garde, Lise Helen Ofstad, Havstovan
Stuðul úr Granskingargrunninum:
This project will use top-predators as indicators for the status and long-term trend of the North-Atlantic ecosystem, with focus on the Greenland-Iceland-Faroe-Scotland Ridge, and explore impact and feedback mechanisms manifested in the indicators. The project will study the ecological role of three common but overlooked top-predators, pilot whale, dolphin and killer whale, of major importance for the central North Atlantic ecosystem. The three whales consume millions of tons of prey every year but the impact from the predation has not been studied before, and the three species are showing signs of changes in distribution that are related to large scale oceanographic changes. Importantly, they are also simultaneously subject to opportunistic hunting activities in both East Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which call for new and updated knowledge. The migrations, stock identity, diving and feeding behavior will be studied with satellite telemetry and the information will be compared to remote sensing data of sea surface temperatures, chlorophyll concentrations and food availability. Samples of the hunt will be collected to estimate feeding habits, reproduction, age and growth, and tissue samples will be sampled for genetic and pollutant analyses. Teeth from historical collections and from modern hunting will be studied with laser ablation methods to identify elemental depositions in order to reveal traces of ecosystem changes over time. We furthermore seek collaboration with a digital game that will illustrate climate models, detect past and future tipping points, and their impact on ecosystem and marine mammals in the North Atlantic.