The arctic is changing under the impact of climate warming and human activities such as oil/gaz exploitation and reindeer grazing. The Yamal Peninsula, which extends over more than 700km from the northern boreal forest to the arctic tundra, represents an excellent setting for studying changes of arctic terrestrial ecosystems in a latitudinal gradient. Bird communities are important components of ecosystems. They have been extensively used to monitore changes in temperate ecosystems, but their usefulness f or monitoring arctic ecosystems has not been thoroughly assessed.
Main objective: Using modern statistical methods to analyze spatial and temporal changes of bird communities and diversity on Yamal Peninsula
Sub-objectives: 1) Relate changes in bird comm unities along a gradient extending from the forest-tundra ecotone to the border of the arctic tundra to changes in vegetation structure and climate. 2) Analyze the impact of lemming cycle phases and phenology on interannual changes in bird community struc ture.
Existing data on bird communities from nine sites on Yamal will be analyzed in an ecosystem perspective using modern statistical methods. Multivariate analyses will be the main statistical tools.
V. Sokolov will learn recent methodological develop ments that can be applied to the analysis of biodiversity changes through collaboration with scientists at the Dept. of Biology, University of Tromsø, and work in an ecosystem perspective, which is emphasized in this research group. This project is also a continuation of the collaboration between the Dept. of Biology and the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology in Ekaterinburg which was established during 2007-2008 through common field work on Yamal in the frame of the IPY project "Arctic Predators". It is an important building block for establishing a long-term collaboration between these institutions in terms of research, ecosystem monitoring and education, and thus a part of the intended legacy of the IPY.