Disco Island, Greenland

Disco Island is located in the Baffin Bay, north of the Polar Circle, in western Greenland. Our sampling site is at the southwestern corner of Disco Island, in a bay, which is about 100-200 m across N69-26-01 to -N69-26-13; W54-14-12 to -W54-14-31. The waters of western Greenland are influenced by the west Greenland Current, the Polar Current, the Irminger Current and Subarctic mixed water additionally to temporal melting glacier water (Illulissat Fjord glacier). These different water regimes together with upwelling events result in very productive waters in western Greenland. The bay of our sampling site, however, is protected from heavy wave and open ocean impact by a very narrow channel that is the only connection of the bay to the open ocean. Thus, the sampling bay is characterized by heavy sedimentation processes and hardly disturbed sediments. Nutrient rich water and the hydrographic regime in the sampling bay result in oxygen depleted intertidal sediments. These sediments are covered by ice for 9-12 months per year. This extreme environment is the northern most marine system, where protistan communities have been analyzed via state-of-the art molecular tools.