Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - DYNARC (Coastal colonization in a rapidly changing Arctic environment)

The DYNARC project aims to redress the paucity of knowledge of colonisation processes and interactions between benthic macro-organisms in the Arctic coastal zone. The project examined variability dictated by Arctic environment dynamics (e.g. ice scour, wave action) and differences in hydrology (prediction of climate change). A principal aim is to establish modes of colonization and recruitment in the context of that elsewhere around the world (for which an extensive literature exists using comparable methodology). This aimed to reveal fundamental unknowns in the Arctic such as underlying structure to shallow sea bed communities and diversity influences on these. Experiment was established at two locations: subarctic Northern Norway (~69N) and high Arctic Svalbard (~78N). Two sites (within each of Svalbard and Northern Norway) with different environmental (shelter - exposed) conditions were chosen.

In the project it was hypothesised that disturbance (e.g. ice scour intensity, strength of wave action, temperature variability) dominates influences on Arctic colonization patterns, its initial biodiversity and population interactions on newly deployed substrates. Therefore in order to test this at each chosen site artificial substrata in the form of both panels and scourers were deployed to investigate sessile and mobile colonisation respectively during a field work in August 2007. To enable investigation of influences of shape and mineralogy of substrata, a series of shaped natural local rocks were deployed.

These were in three shapes: spheres, pyramids and cuboid. Different shapes confer different stability and hydrodynamics, for example spheres are very dynamic as a habitat. Two different rock types were used, granite (igneous) and limestone (sedimentary). Within each site of each region, randomised sample stations were established in order to establish benthic community composition and species pool in the area as well as to determine importance of local species pool on initial phase of colonization. Measurements of environmental parameters (for example: water temperature, waves height) with use of various data logger were conducted at each site. This project last two years and to date all the goals concerning deployment of the experiment, data gathering, data basing were fulfilled. In the coming year all panels, rocks with fauna colonized them will be taken form the experimental sites, brought to the laboratory and analysed in great details.

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