The Arctic is one of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems, and the scale of change taking place in the Arctic marine environment due to rises in temperature and loss of sea ice cover is overwhelming. The PhD fellowship will integrate palaeogenomics, palaeoecology, and palaeoclimatology to elucidate how climatic perturbations have affected the ranges and abundances of Arctic marine mammal species in the past. The PhD project aims to retrieve ancient mammalian DNA from marine sediments and subfossil remains of Arctic marine mammal species to document their occurrence and diversity throughout the Late Pleistocene/Holocene. The DNA data will be combined with other proxy data on the timing and magnitude of changes in the abundance and species composition of organisms at the base of the food web (e.g. phytoplankton, sea ice algae, zooplankton), to investigate how past patterns of climatic shifts have impacted species, with the ultimate goal of improving our understanding of how these species might fare in the near future of increased global warming under different future scenarios of climate change.
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