The coolest cold-water corals of Greenland won a prize Published 23.06.2023

Sandra Maier med prisen som bedste taler

At the 8th International Symposium on Deep Sea Corals, Sandra Maier, a postdoctoral researcher at the Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, presented her findings on these Greenlandic corals and got the prize for best talk.

The dark, cold deep sea harbors many unseen treasures, one of which is corals that most people only associate with tropical islands. However, corals also exist in cold waters, and Greenland is home to quite a significant number of them.

Cold-water corals often form what are known as vulnerable marine ecosystems, which serve as habitats for various other species and are therefore crucial for maintaining the functioning of the marine ecosystem. However, these ecosystems are particularly susceptible to threats such as bottom-trawling and global climate change.

According to Sandra, in order to effectively manage these valuable seafloor treasures, it is imperative that we study and investigate these ecosystems. Our team, led by benthic ecologist Nadescha Zwerschke, is conducting research on seafloor ecosystems offshore as part of the monitoring program INAMon. Additionally, Sandra’s postdoctoral project focuses on investigating seafloor ecosystems in Greenlandic fjords.

During her presentation, Sandra discussed the progress made since 2015, as well as the challenges faced. One specific challenge that we consider important to address in an international context is known as ‘parachute science.’ This term refers to scientists from abroad conducting fieldwork in countries without actively involving the local community or collaborating with local institutions beyond logistical support. At the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, we believe it is crucial to ensure that our research benefits Greenlandic society. Therefore, we are pleased when researchers seek fair collaboration and engage in open dialogues about these challenges.

The ensuing discussion proved to be compelling, and Sandra’s presentation was recognized with the Best Talk award. “I am delighted to have received this prize and eagerly anticipate the continuation of our work,” Sandra says.