Today, researcher at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Kristine Engel Arendt, publicly defends her PhD thesis on Arctic marine ecosystems with special focus on Nuup Kangerlua (Godthåbsfjorden) and the differences between the fjord system and the ocean off the west coast of Greenland.
Kristine Arendt began her career at The Greenland Climate Research Centre in 2005 and helped build up the research programme MarinBasis together with Professor Søren Rysgaard. The programme monitors and collects a wide variety of data on climatic and biological conditions in the marine environment in the sub-Arctic ecosystem that Nuup Kangerlua represents. The programme has now been collecting data for 6 years, and Nuup Kangerlua is turning into one off the World’s best studied fjord systems. Given the need for knowledge of the consequences of climate change and the importance of sea ice and the Ice Sheet, the data collection is both valuable and unique. These data are included in the recently published PhD thesis.
Among other things, Kristine Arendt’s PhD thesis demonstrates that the function of the food web in the fjord system is very different from that in the sea along the west coast of Greenland, because the plankton communities in the two areas are very different. The amount of small copepods, especially the small Microsetella norvegica, is surprisingly high in the fjord compared with the ocean, where the large copepod Calanus is by far the dominating organism and is a basic food item for cod fry and bowhead whales. Kristine assumes that the Ice Sheet’s strong influence on the fjord system is the most important cause of the difference between the fjord ecosystem and that of the ocean. The Ice Sheet affects the fjord by adding freshwater and sediment, which may influence the variation in plankton composition.
The thesis was prepared in co-operation between Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) and Copenhagen University. The project was supported financially by the Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland (KVUG).