Key processes governing pelagic productivity in sub-arctic North Atlantic fjord ecosystems

Project Details


The Faroe shelf ecosystem is subject to influence by the exchange across the Ridge with significant effect on shelf productivity. However, little is known about the processes controlling pelagic productivity in Faroese fjords and about the exchange of nutrients and plankton across the fjord-shelf boundary. This knowledge gap is important to fill, since fjord ecosystems are of ecological and economical importance acting as nursery grounds for several commercially important fish stocks including cod and saithe. The fjords are subject to anthropogenic pressure, and in order to implement relevant management actions, this knowledge is needed.
The aim of the project is to generate general knowledge about the pelagic productivity and food web mechanisms in the fjord ecosystems with a particular emphasis on the effects of exchange across the fjord-shelf boundary. A pelagic ecosystem model will be developed to predict ecosystem changes during a time of climate change. Furthermore, we aspire to develop a roadmap for a monitoring program for Faroese fjords.
To address these aims, a multi-disciplinary team is working together in four work packages (WPs). A postdoctoral fellow will lead the work (WP4) to further develop and validate a numerical pelagic ecosystem model and identify the physical processes governing biological productivity. This work relies on input from WP1 and WP2. WP1, also led by the Postdoc, is devoted to compiling existing fjord ecosystem data and sampling physical data e.g. to establish an understanding of mixing, stratification and exchange with the shelf. WP2 is focused on the plankton communities with regards to identifying production and advection of plankton across the fjord-shelf boundary and to identify food web mechanisms in the fjord. WP3 addresses interaction between planktivorous fish, including fry, and the plankton community by identifying seasonal migration, diet and growth.
The outcome for the Faroese society will be an improved understanding of the fjord ecosystem and interaction with the shelf, better basis for sustainable fisheries and tools for improved management of farmed fish. In a larger perspective, this work in a Faroese ice free fjord ecosystem can be valuable to other fjord ecosystems on the Ridge, and in a changing climate also serve as a future scenario.
Short titleFjordProcess
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/24


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