How will the plants of the sea react, when the sea water is warming up? Experiments going on at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) will try to answer this question. The experiments are going on in a refrigerated container from Royal Arctic Line in front of the building of the GINR. The scientists will simulate the impact of warmer climate on the growth rate of eelgrass and kelp from Nuup Kangerlua (the fjord system of Nuuk). Here the temperatures are usually around 10o C in summer. The scientists will study the reactions of a warmer climate on the plants at temperatures between 10o and 19o C.
The refrigerated container has been equipped with shelves, aquariums, pumps, thermostats etc. The scientists have collected 4 species of macro algae and eelgrass as well from sites in Nuup Kangerlua. The largest species of algae the kelp, can grow to a length of more than 6 meters, but in the lab small and handy samples are being studied. The study objects area among the most dominating algae in the fjord, and are also found further south. The scientists expect that the plants will have a faster growth rate at higher temperatures, but too high temperatures might also harm the plants.
Eelgrass in Greenland
The distribution of eelgrass in Greenland was until now unknown to marine ecologists, but they have visited eelgrass beds near Kapisillit and found that they are just as lush as further south, but the yearly growth rate is considerable smaller here in the north.
It is scientists from the National Environmental Research Institute (NERI), Aarhus University and the Spanish Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, that make these experiments as a part or the larger EU-project – Arctic Tipping Point (ATP), investigating how climate changes impact the arctic nature. GNIR is also participating in ATP.
An ideal starting point
” Greenland Institute of Natural Resources is an ideal starting point for our study of the arctic sea environment” says Dorte Krause-Jensen, NERI at Aarhus University. ”Here we are next to the fjord and we can use the well equipped labs of the institute, their boats and skilled boatmen. We are housed in the annex at GINR having rooms and apartments for students and guest researchers and we benefit from the helpful and inspiring scientists of the institute.