Population development and influence of local climatic conditions on Greenland’s thick-billed murre

Population development and influence of local climatic conditions on Greenland’s thick-billed murre

Research leader: Flemming Merkel, Senior scientist, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Other participants and affiliated institutions: Aili Labansen, Scientist, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources; Morten Frederiksen, Senior researcher, Aarhus University; Nicholas Huffeldt, Postdoc, Lund University; Ryan Long, Assistant Professor, University of Idaho; Allan Kristensen, climbing consultant; Per Nukaaraq Hansen, local data collector; Finn Pedersen, local data collector; and Kasim Virk, local data collector.

Research area, purpose and research questions:
Thick-billed murre is a valuable resource in Greenland, but the population is challenged by climatic conditions. New research shows that murres only have a limited ability to down-regulate their body temperature if they are exposed to sustained high temperatures. In Greenland, we suspect that some colonies are on the way to becoming unsuitable as breeding sites, as the birds are increasingly exposed to overheating during the breeding season. However, the local microclimate in the colonies can vary greatly, depending on the location and orientation of the colonies to the sun and wind. This project aims to establish a method to monitor the local microclimate in Greenland murre colonies, with a view to quantifying the energetic costs associated with periodic overheating while the birds are in the colonies. The results will be compared with the population development in the individual colonies, and here we collaborate with local stakeholders to provide detailed knowledge of the population development.

Methods for competence building in the form of inclusion of society:
The project is carried out by the Greenland Institute of Natural resources thereby ensuring local anchoring in Greenland of the experience and knowledge that the project creates. In the areas where GINR currently does not have the necessary competences, we collaborate with foreign experts, which also contributes to competence building in Greenland.

Community involvement in this project takes place primarily via the local stakeholders, with whom we collaborate on the collection of monitoring data, in addition to the local companies that are involved in the practical execution of logistical tasks. We find that this contact has great value as a dissemination platform to and from other groups in the local community, with whom we otherwise only have sporadic contact with.

Methods of dissemination to society:
Popular communication about the project and its results will take place via GINR’s website and social media platforms. This also applies to results from the general monitoring of the population development of thethick-billed murre. Posters are also produced about the thick-billed murre’s population development, which are distributed locally and via social platforms. Our local cooperation partners regarding population monitoring also play a major role in communicating the status of the situation of thick-billed murres in Greenland.

Scroll to Top