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Videospots from field studies in Greenland

Dissemination of research and consultancy through small popular-science videos in Greenlandic and Danish

A number of videos are presented to disseminate important knowledge obtained in connection with various research and consultancy projects in Greenland. The videos tell quite different stories, but have a common angle related to the possibilities and need for adaptation to the future, including climate change, which, among other things, was in highlighted in a Arctic Council report focusing on West Greenland and Canada. The videos are recorded under "fieldwork of opportunity" for current fieldwork or other relevant activities in the field seasons 2020-2021.

The videos include the dissemination of projects within the areas of environmental monitoring of mining projects, oil pollution, climate adaptation and management in relation to e.g. birds and marine mammals in Greenland as well as permafrost, geological mapping, etc. More details can be found next to the individual videos.

The production of the videos is financed by the Danish Environmental Agency's “Miljøstøtte til Arktis” ("Environmental support for the Arctic"). The various research and consultancy projects also have different sources of funding.

Overview of the videos

More videos will be produced on an ongoing basis and will be posted on the page in the course of 2022.

Project participants

Studies of oil pollution in high Arctic vegetation

Aarhus University, DCE – The section Arctic Environment has re-visited a number of experimental field fields, which were laid out in 1982 a few kilometers north of Station Mestervig. The purpose was to look at the effects of oil on different types of vegetation. The damage to the vegetation has been monitored regularly and most recently in 2014. The purpose of the 2020 studies was to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of oil spills in different types of high Arctic vegetation and soil types, and also to look at the speed of decomposition of the oil. The studies carried out this year show that even 38 years after oil and diesel were discharged, there is still significant damage to vegetation and plants as well as oil in the soil profiles.

Jameson Land

In the latter half of the 1980s, extensive oil exploration was carried out in Jameson Land in East Greenland. Among other things, this resulted in clear driving tracks in the landscape. In 1989, study fields were set up in the driving tracks so that researchers could follow the long-term effects on the vegetation.

In 2020, Aarhus University, DCE, re-visited these fields. The studies from the summer of 2020 showed that several of the fields were difficult to find because the plants had re-established themselves. However, detailed studies showed a different species composition in the monitoring fields compared to reference fields without human impact. The places where the vegetation was scraped off in the 1980s had hardly been re-established. Nevertheless, we could conclude that the regulations and conditions that were set for oil exploration had prevented ground damage and major damage to vegetation.

Monitoring and tracing of seabirds at Kippaku

Kippaku is the most studied seabird colony in Greenland. Through a collaboration between Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and Aarhus University (DCE), the colony has been visited annually since 2008. The colony is home to approx. 20,000 guillemots and 10,000 black-legged kittiwakes and is, compared to other seabird colonies, particularly well suited to biological studies, as the birds are easy to observe and easy to catch in connection with marking and sampling. 

This video focuses on the activities we carry out to monitor the population development and its well-being, as well as a number of tracking activities in which we examine where the birds are located in the winter and what they do when they are not in the colony. The results are used, among other things, to consult on the catch of Guillemots in Greenland and on how fishing in the winter affects breeding populations in other countries.

Peregrine falcon in South Greenland - 40 years of environmental monitoring

The peregrine falcon is a bird of prey that breeds across the globe. The peregrines breeding in Greenland migrate through North America and overwinter in Latin America. Since the falcons are high up in the food chain, environmental pollutants tend to accumulate in their body. A well-known example is DDT and its degradation products, which cause thinner eggshells in birds of prey – which, in turn, can lead to reduced breeding success and population decline.

This video provides a glimpse of a summer’s fieldwork in South Greenland and provides a summary of key results achieved during 40 years of monitoring and research. Since 1981, Søren Møller and Knud Falk have monitored the breeding success of the Greenlandic peregrine falcons, identified their migration routes and prey selection and - particularly - collected samples to investigate the falcons' content of environmental pollutants. The samples have been analyzed by Katrin Vorkamp and colleagues, and the results have contributed to risk screening of certain new chemical substances that are being added to or considered for the UN list of regulated/banned substances - for the benefit of both falcons and humans. In general, peregrine falcons are doing well in Greenland, but their breeding success varies a lot, depending on the weather from year to year. In the future, larger fluctuations in breeding success are expected, as climate change causes wilder weather and heavier rainfall. Studies in Greenland are important for monitoring global environmental problems - both environmental pollutants and climate effects.