Although the Arctic Sea is remote and considered pristine, paradoxically the marine food chain is highly loaded by persistent organic pollutants; especially seabirds suffer from high concentrations. The research on environmental contaminants in Arctic has developed substantially over the last decade, and seabirds have been at the core of this achievement. Hence, recent research projects in the Norwegian Arctic have increased our understanding and enabled studies of more fundamental relevance. This work started with the NFR project AVITOX where we studied multiple stressors in seabird species at different trophic positions in three integrated work packages (WPs): 1) the origin of POPs and mercury and the role of seabirds as vectors of emerging and legacy contaminants (bio-transport);2) the physiological stress caused by different contaminants measured through biomarker responses; and 3) the ecological impact that contaminants have on seabird populations in a changing environment through the use of population modelling. A new NFR project funded from 2019 is natural continuation of this project, in which multiple stressor studies will be studied on a larger scale. Hence, the project aims at exploring the true role of pollution as an anthropogenic driver in Arctic ecosystems in concert with other stressors.
NINA – Norsk institutt for naturforskning
Project manager: Jan Ove Bustnes
Project code: 462018/448 722019