ATKA: ichtyo- and zooplankton assemblages along the west Greenland Coast

ATKA: ichtyo- and zooplankton assemblages along the west Greenland Coast

Project Manager:
Caroline Bouchard

Faculty / Research Institution:
Naturvidenskab / Grønlands Naturinstitut

ATKA: ichtyo- and zooplankton assemblages along the west Greenland Coast

Fish larvae and zooplankton are a major component of marine foodwebs. They are an important source of food for a large number of animals including fish, marine mammals and seabirds.
Currently, we have limited knowledge on pelagic productivity in Greenlandic waters, and this is limiting our capacity to forecast the dynamics of pelagic ecosystems under climate warming.
This project is made in collaboration with GLACE (the Greenland Circumnavigation Expedition organized by the Swiss Polar Institute) in a way to complement its sampling and will offer an excellent opportunity to fill some of these knowledge gaps. The GLACE expedition will focus on large scale supersites sampling around Greenland while ATKA will focus on coastal sampling in West Greenland, using the polar sailing boat ATKA. In this project, we will sample fjords associated with both marine and land-terminating glaciers to further investigate the link between hydrographic conditions and pelagic productivity.

The main objectives of the project are:

1) to assess the composition, distribution and abundance of zooplankton and fish larvae along the coast of West Greenland and within some of its fjords; and

2) to understand the physical and biological drivers behind these patterns.

Community inclusion methods:
We will share our results with local communities. ATKA polar school, a pedagogic program aimed to youth, is leaded by Anne-Claire Bihan-Poudec in collaboration with the Swiss Polar Institute. They are developing different pedagogic tools such as web series, and photographic exchange program with schools from different part of the world (i.e. France, Switzerland and Greenland). We are hoping that the pedagogic program “ATKA polar school” will be part of the 2019 expedition.

For more information please go to or contact directly the pedagogic coordinator Anne-Claire Bihan-Poudec (

Dissemination methods:
ATKA is a project highly relevant to the Greenlandic society. We will communicate our findings to politicians, administrators and the public, using face-to-face meetings and different platforms such as Internet home pages (, and social media (GCRC Twitter and Facebook page).

The knowledge gained during this project will help the assessment of natural resources and provide scientific advice on managing fish stocks in Greenland. We will disseminate the project results to the scientific community in scientific articles in highly-ranked peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.

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