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Invertebra colonization on nunataks

For the last decades we have been facing a period of global warming. Glaciers have retreated, not only have their outlines changed but they have also become thinner. This means that new land becomes exposed in front of the glaciers and new mountain tops emerge from the glacier, so called nunataks. Nunataks provide excellent locations for studies on primary succession and assembly of communities.

In this project, dispersal abilities of invertebrates over the glacier will be studied with the use of sticky traps and by comparing those with traps on the glacier foreland it will be possible to determine whether the glacier is a barrier for invertebrate dispersal. Furthermore, the dispersal rate will be studied with genetic analyses.The research takes place in Iceland and is a part of a project on succession and community assembly on nunataks in Breiðamerkurjökull, SE-Iceland, a cooperation between Icelandic Institute of Natural History and Lund University.

Funding through external grants: The Crafoord Foundation, Iceland Institute of Natural History, Royal Physiographic Society and Linné grant (The Swedish Research Council).

Collecting invertebrates

Nunataks
Photo: Maria Ingimarsdottir

On the nunataks, invertebrates were collected from plots that have emerged not longer than 3 years ago and from older land, up to a maximum age of 100 years. Both flying insects as well as invertebrates crawling on and in the soil were sampled and vegetation identified. To generalize the study, certain groups of invertebrates will be sampled in nunataks of other glaciers in Iceland. From the data set community assembly on the nuntaks will be determined for the dominant invertebrate groups and food web will be estimated.

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Maria Ingimarsdottír

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden