Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

The expanding blue mussel - Ecology, distribution, and Macrophysiology in a changing Arctic climate

2013.09.23 | Egon Randa Frandsen

Date Fri 19 Jul Thu 22 Aug
Time 00:00    00:00
Location Upernavik, Qaanaaq, Greenland

This project investigates the distribution, abundance and physiological adaptation of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) along the West Greenland coast. Blue mussels are an ecologically well-studied species that often dominates the coastal zone where it forms a specific habitat with a distinct associated fauna. Such habitat formers which influence ecosystem structure have the potential for wide impacts if they are able to migrate into new areas due to changing climate. With the unprecedented increase in ocean temperatures, the blue mussel has already expanded its northern distribution well into the High-Arctic region. This project aims to understand the processes involved in determining the distributional limits of the blue mussel in the High-Arctic to which they only recently migrated. Moreover, we want to increase our knowledge about how blue mussels physiologically adapts to the High-Arctic environment. By comparing population dynamics and macrophysiology among populations found at Nuuk, Disko bay, Upernavik and Qaanaaq, this study will allow us to better understand the full direct and indirect impacts of the changing Arctic climate. Finally, we will describe how species that are susceptible to expand their current distribution range will influence current ecosystem structure and function. Working on three functional levels: organisms, populations and communities are necessary to progress current understanding on the processes that link Arctic climate change with changes in biological structure.

PI: Jakob Thyrring

Arctic Research Centre