How the warming Arctic Ocean effects marine organisms' biological clocks

As the Arctic Ocean warms, marine organisms move pole-wards and experience different day-lengths. Project CHASE will determine effects on their biology and the ‘ticking’ of biological clocks.

As the Arctic Ocean is warming, many marine organisms are moving northwards to take advantage of new habitats. Such migrations result in exposure to different day-lengths (or photoperiods), which can be extreme when compared with lower latitudes.

Since photoperiod is central to the timing of many life-cycle events and the ‘setting’ of the biological circadian clock, the consequences of migrating ‘up north’ are as yet unknown.

Scientist of the CHASE project (Chronobiology of changing Arctic Sea Ecosystems) will determine if changes in photoperiod, known to negatively affect many terrestrial organisms, will also affect marine zooplankton, centrally important to the functioning of the Arctic ecosystem.

This project is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by NERC. Dr Kim Last of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and Professor Dr Bettina Meyer of University of Oldenburg/AWI are lead investigators of CHASE.