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Details of a science project

Tundra ponds on the move


Earlier on we studied aquatic ecology in tundra ponds. We focused on the Arctic tadpole shrimp, Lepidurus in relation to zooplankton and geese. Our results from 2015 showed that Barnacle geese induce both top-down and bottom-up effects.

The increase over time of goose numbers has had cascading effects on the freshwater aquatic community. So feeding conditions on the winter grounds in Scotland have an effect in the Arctic. Our approach for this year's research has three lines:

First, fieldwork will comprise mapping the spatial occurrence of crustaceans in different depth zones of selected arctic ponds.
Second, we will extend our research in the field to the role of another end-user of crustaceans, the Grey Phalarope. Phalaropes perform a complete moult of body feathers, before taking off from the tundra ecosystem to the coastal marine upwelling zones where they spend the winter, several thousands of kilometers away from Svalbard. They concentrate in areas where crustaceans are abundant. During this expedition we will map feeding conditions and hope to discover important staging sites in the eastern islands and the Sørkapp area.
Third, on board, experiments will be undertaken to study the diurnal activity of zooplankton in relation to the presence and activity of Lepidurus, their main predator. For this we use four mini tanks to mimic various environmental conditions. So extended research along three lines, fascinating and therefore very much looking forward meeting you all up North!

People involved in the project Mennobart van Eerden, Maarten Loonen, Arne van Eerden.

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