Faroese Museum of Natural History

Museum of Natural History, Faroe Islands

Faroese Museum of Natural History

Museum of Natural History, Faroe Islands
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Elmendorf S.C.,National Ecological Observatory Network | Elmendorf S.C.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henry G.H.R.,University of British Columbia | Hollister R.D.,Grand Valley State University | And 15 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Inference about future climate change impacts typically relies on one of three approaches: manipulative experiments, historical comparisons (broadly defined to include monitoring the response to ambient climate fluctuations using repeat sampling of plots, dendroecology, and paleoecology techniques), and space-for-time substitutions derived from sampling along environmental gradients. Potential limitations of all three approaches are recognized. Here we address the congruence among these three main approaches by comparing the degree to which tundra plant community composition changes (i) in response to in situ experimental warming, (ii) with interannual variability in summer temperature within sites, and (iii) over spatial gradients in summer temperature. We analyzed changes in plant community composition from repeat sampling (85 plant communities in 28 regions) and experimental warming studies (28 experiments in 14 regions) throughout arctic and alpine North America and Europe. Increases in the relative abundance of species with a warmer thermal niche were observed in response to warmer summer temperatures using all three methods; however, effect sizes were greater over broadscale spatial gradients relative to either temporal variability in summer temperature within a site or summer temperature increases induced by experimental warming. The effect sizes for change over time within a site and with experimental warming were nearly identical. These results support the view that inferences based on space-for-time substitution overestimate the magnitude of responses to contemporary climate warming, because spatial gradients reflect long-term processes. In contrast, in situ experimental warming and monitoring approaches yield consistent estimates of the magnitude of response of plant communities to climate warming.


Elmendorf S.C.,University of British Columbia | Henry G.H.R.,University of British Columbia | Hollister R.D.,Grand Valley State University | Bjork R.G.,Gothenburg University | And 44 more authors.
Ecology Letters | Year: 2012

Understanding the sensitivity of tundra vegetation to climate warming is critical to forecasting future biodiversity and vegetation feedbacks to climate. In situ warming experiments accelerate climate change on a small scale to forecast responses of local plant communities. Limitations of this approach include the apparent site-specificity of results and uncertainty about the power of short-term studies to anticipate longer term change. We address these issues with a synthesis of 61 experimental warming studies, of up to 20years duration, in tundra sites worldwide. The response of plant groups to warming often differed with ambient summer temperature, soil moisture and experimental duration. Shrubs increased with warming only where ambient temperature was high, whereas graminoids increased primarily in the coldest study sites. Linear increases in effect size over time were frequently observed. There was little indication of saturating or accelerating effects, as would be predicted if negative or positive vegetation feedbacks were common. These results indicate that tundra vegetation exhibits strong regional variation in response to warming, and that in vulnerable regions, cumulative effects of long-term warming on tundra vegetation - and associated ecosystem consequences - have the potential to be much greater than we have observed to date. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.


Hagen D.,Norwegian Institute for Nature Research | Svavarsdottir K.,Soil Conservation Service of Iceland | Nilsson C.,Umeå University | Tolvanen A.K.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2013

An international overview of the extent and type of ecological restoration can offer new perspectives for understanding, planning, and implementation. The Nordic countries, with a great range of natural conditions but historically similar social and political structures, provide an opportunity to compare restoration approaches and efforts across borders. The aim of this study was to explore variation in ecological restoration using the Nordic countries as an example. We used recent national assessments and expert evaluations of ecological restoration. Restoration efforts differed among countries: forest and peatland restoration was most common in Finland, freshwater restoration was most common in Sweden, restoration of natural heathlands and grasslands was most common in Iceland, restoration of natural and semi-cultural heathlands was most common in Norway, and restoration of cultural ecosystems, mainly abandoned agricultural land, was most common in Denmark. Ecological restoration currently does not occur on the Faroe Islands. Economic incentives influence ecological restoration and depend on laws and policies in each country. Our analyses suggest that habitat types determine the methods of ecological restoration, whereas socio-economic drivers are more important for the decisions concerning the timing and location of restoration. To improve the understanding, planning, and implementation of ecological restoration, we advocate increased cooperation and knowledge sharing across disciplines and among countries, both in the Nordic countries and internationally. An obvious advantage of such cooperation is that a wider range of experiences from different habitats and different socio-economic conditions becomes available and thus provides a more solid basis for developing practical solutions for restoration methods and policies. © 2013 by the author(s).


PubMed | Public Health England, Faroese Museum of Natural History, Blomubrekka 54 and I Geilini 37
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ticks and tick-borne diseases | Year: 2016

Ixodes ricinus ticks are expanding their geographic range in Europe, both latitudinally in Scandinavia, and altitudinally in the European Alps. This paper details the findings of both passive and active surveillance on the Faroe Islands. Active field surveillance, using tick dragging, was conducted at 38 sites across the main seven inhabited islands of the Faroes during June-August 2015. Field sampling was conducted at all wooded sites on the islands of Vgar, Streymoy, Eysturoy, Boroy, Kunoy and Suuroy as well as in urban parks in the capital Trshavn, among seabird colonies and at a bird observatory on Nlsoy, at moorland sites on Vgar and Boroy, and a coastal headland on Suuroy. In addition, as part of the promotion of a new passive surveillance scheme for the Faroes, new tick records were submitted during summer 2015 and early spring 2016. During tick dragging, only three questing I. ricinus ticks (two nymphs, one male) were found at two separate sampling locations in the village of Tvroyri on the southernmost island of Suuroy. No questing ticks were found at any other field site. The passive surveillance of ticks identified an additional 33 records of I. ricinus collected during the last 10 years on the Faroes, with almost half of these records from 2015. Although this represents the first finding of questing I. ricinus and overwintering I. ricinus on the Faroe Islands, there appears to be little evidence so far to suggest that Ixodes ricinus are established on the Faroe Islands. Additional reports of ticks through the passive surveillance scheme are reported from seven inhabited islands. Reports of ticks on both companion animals and humans suggest that ticks are being acquired locally, and the records of ticks on migratory birds highlight a possible route of importation. This paper details the likely ecological constraints on I. ricinus establishment and density on Faroe and makes recommendations for future surveillance and research.


PubMed | University of Vienna, German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv, University Center in Svalbard, University of Tromsø and 19 more.
Type: | Journal: Global change biology | Year: 2017

Warmer temperatures are accelerating the phenology of organisms around the world. Temperature sensitivity of phenology might be greater in colder, higher-latitude sites than in warmer regions, in part because small changes in temperature constitute greater relative changes in thermal balance at colder sites. To test this hypothesis, we examined up to 20 years of phenology data for 47 tundra plant species at 18 high-latitude sites along a climatic gradient. Across all species, the timing of leaf emergence and flowering were more sensitive to a given increase in summer temperature at colder than warmer high-latitude locations. A similar pattern was seen over time for the flowering phenology of a widespread species, Cassiope tetragona. These are among the first results highlighting differential phenological responses of plants across a climatic gradient, and suggest the possibility of convergence in flowering times and therefore an increase in gene flow across latitudes as the climate warms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Oberbauer S.F.,Florida International University | Elmendorf S.C.,National Ecological Observatory Network | Troxler T.G.,Florida International University | Hollister R.D.,Grand Valley State University | And 19 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

The rapidly warming temperatures in high-latitude and alpine regions have the potential to alter the phenology of Arctic and alpine plants, affecting processes ranging from food webs to ecosystem trace gas fluxes. The International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) was initiated in 1990 to evaluate the effects of expected rapid changes in temperature on tundra plant phenology, growth and community changes using experimental warming. Here, we used the ITEX control data to test the phenological responses to background temperature variation across sites spanning latitudinal and moisture gradients. The dataset overall did not show an advance in phenology; instead, temperature variability during the years sampled and an absence of warming at some sites resulted in mixed responses. Phenological transitions of high Arctic plants clearly occurred at lower heat sum thresholds than those of low Arctic and alpine plants. However, sensitivity to temperature change was similar among plants from the different climate zones. Plants of different communities and growth forms differed for some phenological responses. Heat sums associated with flowering and greening appear to have increased over time. These results point to a complex suite of changes in plant communities and ecosystem function in high latitudes and elevations as the climate warms. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Bloch D.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Desportes G.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Harvey P.,The Shetland Amenity Trust | Lockyer C.,Age Dynamics | Mikkelsen B.,Faroese Museum of Natural History
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2012

Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) were taken for the first time by the opportunistic drive fishery in the Faroe Islands in two separate incidents: three in September 2009 and 21 in April 2010, with in total 16 females and eight males. Their sizes ranged from 193 to 308 cm in length and 60 to 395 kg in weight for females, and 186 to 323 cm in length and 70 to 505 kg in weight for males; the maximum weights are heavier than previously documented for this species. The smallest mature female was 277 cm long, while the youngest and also lightest mature female was 8 y old and weighed 280 kg. Sperm competition and a pro-miscuous mating system were suggested for the species based on large testicular masses. The diet was composed of cephalopods from both the water column (Todarodes and Loligo) and the ocean floor (Eledona and Todaropsis). Although both schools landed showed a mixed diet, the September school diet centred on a pelagic squid (Todarodes sagittatus), while the April school diet centred upon a benthic octopod (Eledona cirrhosa). Since August 2009, Risso's dolphins have been observed on five occasions in waters around the Faroese north of 61° 34' N, the northernmost observation situated at a latitude of 62° 23' N. Sightings of the species off Shetland occur mostly between April and September, with a peak in August and September, the observations in Faroese waters (2 in April, 1 in August, and 2 in September) falling within this period. While the species had not previously been observed in this area north of the Shetland-Faroe Channel, these observations in Faroese territorial waters indicate a likely northward extension of the known range of the species.


Li M.,Harvard University | Sherman L.S.,University of Michigan | Blum J.D.,University of Michigan | Grandjean P.,Harvard University | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2014

Seafood consumption is the primary route of methylmercury (MeHg) exposure for most populations. Inherent uncertainties in dietary survey data point to the need for an empirical tool to confirm exposure sources. We therefore explore the utility of Hg stable isotope ratios in human hair as a new method for discerning MeHg exposure sources. We characterized Hg isotope fractionation between humans and their diets using hair samples from Faroese whalers exposed to MeHg predominantly from pilot whales. We observed an increase of 1.75‰ in Î́202Hg values between pilot whale muscle tissue and Faroese whalers' hair but no mass-independent fractionation. We found a similar offset in Î́202Hg between consumed seafood and hair samples from Gulf of Mexico recreational anglers who are exposed to lower levels of MeHg from a variety of seafood sources. An isotope mixing model was used to estimate individual MeHg exposure sources and confirmed that both Δ199Hg and Î́202Hg values in human hair can help identify dietary MeHg sources. Variability in isotopic signatures among coastal fish consumers in the Gulf of Mexico likely reflects both differences in environmental sources of MeHg to coastal fish and uncertainty in dietary recall data. Additional data are needed to fully refine this approach for individuals with complex seafood consumption patterns. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Van Grouw H.,Bird Group | Bloch D.,Faroese Museum of Natural History
Archives of Natural History | Year: 2015

The white-speckled raven, a colour aberration of the Faroese raven Corvus corax varius Brünnich, 1764, has occurred on the Faroe Islands since at least the Middle Ages, and was always prized by collectors. In the second half of the nineteenth century while the Faroese raven population as a whole was suffering intense persecution, pied individuals were even more severely hunted, and were extinct by the beginning of the twentieth century. Details of twenty six specimens found in museum collections are given in this paper, as well as an overview of collectors on the Faroes who may have collected specimens. © The Society for the History of Natural History.


Fosaa A.M.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Olsen E.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Simonsen W.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Gaard M.,Faroese Museum of Natural History | Hansen H.,Faroese Museum of Natural History
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2010

Questions: How does draining affect the composition of vegetation? Are certain functional groups favoured? Can soil parameters explain these differences? Location: Central Faroe Islands, treeless islands in the northern boreal vegetation zone. Since 1987, an area of 21km2 at 100-200 m a.s.l. was drained in order to provide water for hydro-electric production. Method: Vegetation and soil of a drained area and a control, undrained neighbouring area of approximately the same size were sampled in 2007. Six sites were sampled in each area. The vegetation was classified with cluster analysis. Results: Four plant communities were defined in the area: Calluna vulgaris-Empetrum nigrum-Vaccinium myrtillus heath, Scirpus cespitosus- Eriophorum angustifolium blanket mire, Carex bigelowiiRacomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath, Narthecium ossifragum-Carex panacea mire. Heath was more extensively distributed within, and was the dominant community of the drained area, whereas mossheath was more extensive in the undrained area. Blanket mire and mire had approximately the same distribution in both areas. For the blanket mire, species composition indicated drier conditions in the drained than in the undrained area. The drained area had higher frequencies of woody species and lichens, grasses had finer roots and available soil phosphate was considerably higher, whereas the undrained area had higher frequencies of grasses and sedges. Conclusion: The dominant plant communities were different in the two areas, which indicated that the blanket mire was drying in the drained area. Higher concentration of soil phosphate in the drained area also indicated increased decomposition of organic soils owing to desiccation, © 2009 International Association for Vegetation Science.

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