Marine and terrestrial species are affected by a changing climate. Warmer temperatures, changing levels of precipitation and new vegetation patterns are altering the living conditions for species living in the Greenlandic environment. While some species are affected negatively, others discover new ways of surviving through migration or adaptation. The changing conditions can also lead to the appearance of new species, either permanently or seasonally.
The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources is responsible for a large part of the research conducted on Greenlandic fauna. The Institute has a department for Fish and Shellfish and a department for Birds and Mammals and concentrates especially on those species that have significance for Greenlandic society. In the ocean, this includes shrimp, crab, cod, halibut, salmon and redfish. It also entails the polar bear and whales such as the bowhead whale, the narwhal, the humpback whale and the fin whale.
The Greenland Climate Research Centre is involved in research on a number of species such as cod, benthic species, smaller organisms – including phytoplankton – as well as caribou. A large part of the work is centred on mapping the current distribution of different species and on following possible changes in order to gain a better understanding of how they will react to a changing climate.
Research stations in Greenland such as Zackenberg and Nuuk make up a platform for the monitoring of living organisms and climate-related parameters. The programme BioBasis that is running at both stations, register a wide range of species and parameters on land, in lakes and in the air. MarineBasis does the same, but retains exclusive focus on ecosystems and life in the ocean.