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Marine Ecology Progress Series
Article . 2023 . Peer-reviewed
License: CC BY
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Environmental DNA metabarcoding reveals seasonal and spatial variation in the vertebrate fauna of Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Authors: Schiøtt, Sascha; Jensen, Mads Reinholdt; Sigsgaard, Eva Egelyng; Møller, Peter Daniel Rask; Thomsen, Philip Francis; Rysgaard, Søren; de Paula Avila, Marcelo;

Environmental DNA metabarcoding reveals seasonal and spatial variation in the vertebrate fauna of Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Abstract

Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland is experiencing the effects of climate change, with the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier being one of the fastest-moving and most productive ice streams in Greenland. This is likely affecting the distribution of species in the fjord, including those impor-tant to local fisheries. Due to heavy ice conditions, few studies on environmental and ecological conditions exist from the fjord. However, new techniques such as environmental DNA (eDNA) meta barcoding now allow deeper insight into the fjord system. Here, we combine local ecological knowledge with data on hydrographic conditions, stable isotopes (δ18O), and eDNA metabarcod-ing to investigate the spatial and seasonal distribution of marine fish and mammals inside Ilulissat Icefjord. Our eDNA results support local observations that Arctic char migrate to the southern fjord during summer, harp seals forage in large herds in the fjord system, polar cod is the domi-nant prey fish in the area, and Greenland shark likely does not reside in the fjord system. Lower predation pressure in the Icefjord, due to the absence of Greenland shark and polar bears as well as limited fishing/hunting, is presumably one of the reasons why ringed seals and Greenland hal-ibut are larger in the Icefjord. Furthermore, our results indicate that in summer, the southern branch of the fjord system has a more diverse community of vertebrates and different water masses than the northern branch and main fjord, indicating a time lag between inflows to the dif-ferent branches of the fjord system. Our approach highlights the value of combining local ecolog-ical knowledge with scientific research and represents a potential starting point for monitoring biological responses in Ilulissat Icefjord associated with climate-induced changes.

Countries
Denmark, Norway
Keywords

Marine-terminating glacier, Ecology, ICE-SHEET, COD, Aquatic Science, Oceanography, HALIBUT REINHARDTIUS-HIPPOGLOSSOIDES, GADUS-MORHUA, CLIMATE, Jakobshavn Icefjord, GODTHABSFJORD, Indigenous knowledge, GLACIERS, CAPELIN MALLOTUS-VILLOSUS, eDNA, TEMPERATURE, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, FJORD

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
0
Average
Average
Average
hybrid