The ‘BioGeoZones’ project aims to classify biogeographic and biodiversity zones of marine micro-plankton across Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea. Micro-plankton is the foundation of the marine food web, therefore understanding the dynamics of these organisms has far-reaching societal and economic implications in regions dependent on marine resources.
In light of rapid climate change and its predicted impact on marine ecosystems, it is necessary to identify the drivers of distribution of micro-plankton. How do different environmental factors, such as sea ice cover, glacial melt, Atlantic and Polar water inflows influence the species composition and functional properties of the marine ecosystem? What are the fluctuations in marine productivity and is this driven by changes in sea ice cover?
To provide answers to these questions the project partners are studying biogenic remains of diatoms, haptophytes and dinoflagellates from recently deposited sedimentary archives using an innovative compilation of taxonomic, metagenomic, biomolecular and isotope analyses with satellite-derived environmental data. This ecological modelling focuses primarily on recent decades, but also extends to the past 11,000 years (fossil time series) to investigate millennial changes in oceanographic conditions and marine productivity. The multi-proxy analyses of this unique dataset are carried by the Arctic-Nordic research network, which consists of 12 institutes that are actively involved in arctic research.