A team of marine scientists and conservationists from ZSL are embarking on a two week research cruise to West Greenland to explore the sea bottom in areas of shrimp fishery.
Together with scientists from the Institute of Natural Resources in NUUK they will investigate how past and future trawling will impact the sea bed and the organisms inhabiting this deep cold habitat, as ZSL's Dr. Chris Yesson explains.
Last year we found some large fragile sea pens (Umbellula) in the area. The seafloor of West Greenland is home to many amazing organisms, which are adapted to the harsh (but stable) environments they live in, such as low temperatures, high pressure, limited light and food supply. There are sea cumbers burrowing in the mud, starfish and brittlestars crawling on the surface, the delicate lattice frameworks of bryozoans alongside sponges, to name but a few.
Also cold water corals are known from the area, with a similar function as their tropical relatives, providing shelter and feeding grounds for a large number of invertebrates and fish. These habitats are biodiversity hotspots and are especially vulnerable to bottom trawling because of their fragile nature.
Combining different imaging techniques using still and video cameras with sampling of animals and bycatch from shrimp trawls, we will assess biodiversity and distribution of benthic communities along the Greenland shelf.
We will start in Nuuk and then head up as far north as the sea ice allows us to go, the danger of getting stuck in the pack ice or hit by an iceberg is real. I've participated in previous expeditions to Greenland, where an iceberg hit the ship and damaged the vessel.
Historical sea bed images reaching back to the 1970s allow us to investigate change in benthic communities and the long term impact of trawling.
The West Greenland Coldwater Prawn Fishery has entered the Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainability scheme. Results provided by this expedition will help assess the impact of the fishery and enable management decisions, ensuring long-term sustainability of both the prawn stocks and their environment.
Select a blog
Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.