Seabirds in Thule region

  • Observation guillemots de Saunders
  • Premier prelevement plancton2

The 2013 studies in Thule, Greenland.

We have used the Vagabond for two different projects in 2013:

  1. Studies on the breeding biology of Little Auks (Allealle) and

  2. a survey of seabird breeding colonies in the northern part of Melville Bay.

Land based studies on the Little Auks takes place at the coast just north of Pituffik Glacier, 30 km south of Thule Air Base. The studies include tracking birds from the breeding site to feeding areas off the coast, measuring diving depth (by Time-Depth Recorders) and sampling of food. We used Vagabond for transect from the coast and 100 km offshore to supposed feeding sites: densities of Little Auks on the water were recorded and for every 10 km CTD-data and plankton in the upper 50 m were sampled. Tracking of migration routes to winter quarters and density of breeding pairs in the colonies were also included in the studies.

Recapture of Thick-Billed Murres (Brünnichs Guillemot, Urialomvia) to retrieve dataloggers deployed in previous years in the colony at Saunders Island was also a part of the studies.

The seabird breeding colony survey was a continuation of a survey initiated in 2012. It then started in Upernavik and ended at Fisher Islands in innermost Melville Bay. In 2013 we started at Thule Air Base and surveyed the coasts eastwards to Fisher Islands. On the way CTD-data and plankton was sampled in a high density Little Auk feeding area.

The two studies are part of a study program Eastern Baffin Bay Strategic Environmental Studies Plan 2011-2014 financed by the Greenland authorities in order to collect background knowledge for identifying oil spill sensitive areas and for regulating oil exploration activities in the Greenland part of Baffin Bay and carried out by Aarhus University and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

David Boertmann and Anders Mosbech

Dep. Bioscience, Sect. Arctic Environment

DCE- Danish Centre for Environment and Energy

Aarhus University