ROLE OF THE MARINE COPEPOD OITHONA IN POLAR TROPHIC FOOD WEBS:

THE CASE OF GREENLAND, A THREATENED ECOSYSTEM

                                     
 
  • OITHOGREEN (CTM2010-10036-E, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad)
  • PI: Enric Saiz
  • Other participants: Albert Calbet, Sara Zamora,
  • Duration: 2010-2012
         
                     

Rationale and aims

The subarctic and arctic ecosystems are primarily the most vulnerable ecosystems to the effects of global warming on the planet, with rates of ice mass loss faster than the Antarctic continent. In particular, the west coast of Greenland is an important area in fishery resources and fragile ecosystems comprising address the impact of global warming and human activity. These impacts go beyond the overexploitation of fisheries, as compared to a future scenario, with the increase in the loss of the ice sheet, the area is susceptible to exploitation of other natural resources such as oil and minerals. For this reason it is essential to be familiar with the functioning of the marine ecosystem in the area in order to be able in the near future to environmentally manage, and mitigate if possible, the expected impacts on the ecosystem there.

 

       
           
   
   

 

   
 
               
     

Goal

Traditionally large-sized copepod species (mainly from the genus Calanus) have been the target species of zooplankton studies in the Arctic, due to their high contribution in terms of biomass during the productive season, and also due to their link to fisheries. However, nowadays there are evidences that the small species can also be important, particularly in those periods of the year in which these larged-sized copepods go into deep waters to diapause (i.e. late summer-autumn, winter). In this project we aim to study some aspects of the biology and ecology of the marine copepod genus Oithona in polar trophic food webs, with the final goal to improve our understanding of the funtioning of the pelagic food-web in the Arctic.