Eqalugaq – Polar cod response to climate change in High Arctic vs Low Arctic regions

Eqalugaq – Polar cod response to climate change in High Arctic vs Low Arctic regions

Project manager: Caroline Bouchard, researcher, Greenland Climate Research Center – Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Others involved: Dr. Eva Friis Møller, senior researcher at Aarhus University
Dr. Marja Koski, researcher at DTU-AQUA

Keywords: polar cod, Boreogadus saida, climate change, fish, larval fish.
Research area, purpose and research questions:

Polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is a key species in Arctic marine ecosystems. Depending on the regions, climate change may be beneficial or detrimental to polar cod populations. The present study will focus on polar cod populations in two contrasted regions of Greenland: the Greenland Sea and southern Baffin Bay. The main research questions will be: 1) Are polar cod more abundant in one of the regions, 2) What is the relative importance of temperature on the recruitment of polar cod in both regions? 3) How is the zooplankton abundance and composition affecting the feeding success and survival of age-0 polar cod in each region? Then, with temporal trends in local temperature and zooplankton assemblages, we will try to forecast how polar cod will likely respond to ongoing changes in their environment. Comparing one High Arctic region and one Low Arctic region of Greenland, the project’s main objectives are: 1) to document the distribution and abundance of age-0 and adult polar cod in the Greenland Sea in 2017 and in southern Baffin Bay in 2020; 2) to study spatial patterns of polar cod recruitment in these two regions; and 3) to determine the physical and biological drivers behind these patterns.

Methods of inclusion of society and dissemination to society:
We will communicate relevant findings, pictures and stories related to the project on different platforms such as the Greenland Climate Research Center website and Facebook page. Dr. Bouchard and the two Master students will present the project in an interactive way in different schools of Nuuk during the winter 2021. We will also present the project to the general public during the Greenland Science Week 2021. The results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Project start and completion date: 1. July 2021 – 30. June 2022

Granted: 79.000,00 kr.

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