Nuuk Basic

NuukBasic is part of Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring, which is an interdisciplinary monitoring programme. The goal is to acquire a basic understanding of arctic ecosystems and to monitor the impacts that any climate changes may have on this. There are two monitoring locations associated with GEM: Zackenberg in Northeast Greenland and the Kobbefjord, near Nuuk in West Greenland, providing an opportunity to monitor both in the high and low Arctic. The programme in Kobbefjord is based on the experience gathered in Zackenberg.

The NuukBasic GEM monitoring programmes are divided in five subprogrammes at the Kobbefjord monitoring site: ClimateBasis, GeoBasis, GlacioBasis, MarineBasis and BioBasis.

The BioBasis programme is managed by researchers from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (Department of Environment and Mineral Resources) and the Institute of Bioscience at Aarhus University. BioBasis has been collecting data in the Kobbefjord since 2008. This takes place during the entire snow-free season. The following are studied:

Phenology of three selected plant species. Budding, blooming and wilting are monitored throughout the season to determine how plants are affected by climate variability.

Development of plant vitality throughout the season. Plant vitality is measured by using a NDVI (Normalized Differential Vegetation Index) sensor that provides an indication of how lush and green the vegetation is.

The impact of UV-B radiation on the productivity of dwarf birch (Betula nana) and bog billberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). This study excludes UV-B in selected areas to determine the degree of which plants are stressed by this type of solar radiation. Chlorophyll fluorescence is quantified three times per season as a measure of the plants’ productivity.

Insects and spiders are collected in selected areas. BioBasis has selected four areas where both land living and flying insects are collected on a weekly basis. Soil samples are also collected to study microarthropods.

Exchange of carbon dioxide between vegetation and the atmosphere. Since CO2 is a greenhouse gas, increased emissions can contribute to climate change. In Kobbefjord, CO2 flux is measured in 30 plots. There are three test types: control, increased temperature and shade. This allows us to gauge the possible impact of changes, such as a warmer climate, and give us an idea of how plants will react to a rise in temperature.

The presence of small birds. Birds in Kobbefjord are counted on a weekly basis at to 13 census points. The primary species are the Lapland longspur, snow bunting, northern wheatear and the common redpoll, but all observed birds are noted.

Conditions in two lakes, Badesø (Taseqnalunnguartarfik) and Qassi-sø. Various parameters of the two lakes are measured once a month, including the temperature and sight depths, and water samples are collected to determine the amount of nutrients, chlorophyll, dissolved carbon along with zooplankton and phytoplankton. Once a year, the extent of underwater vegetation is monitored.

Furthermore, the area is used by researchers from around the world who are interested in the Arctic. The BioBasis dataset is freely accessible to everyone, and researchers and students alike are welcome to apply for permission to use the area, including the hut and the boats. If you are interested in doing a project in the Kobbefjord, you can find an application form here along with rules of conduct in the Kobbefjord hut  here.

For a more detailed overview of the BioBasis programme in Kobbefjord, please see the brochure  here.

For more information on the BioBasis programme, see the manual here.

Or contact Josephine Nymand.

The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources’ hut in the Kobbefjord, directly south of Nuuk, where the majority of BioBasis monitoring takes place. Photo: Morten Birch Larsen.
Updated 03.10.2016