Disko/Qeqertarsuaq is a unique research area

Disko/Qeqertarsuaq is a research area with the largest variety concerning biology and landscapes in West Greenland. The Geological variation comprising Precambrian bedrock, slate and sandstone from the Cretaceous period, and large series of Tertiary volcanic rocks. Additionally there are detailed topographic (incl. digital versions) and geological  maps of the entire island; bathymetric maps of western Disko and the fjords were completed in 1997.

In addition, the research area also offers the following:

  • Large sea depth (up to 800 m)

  • Numerous homothermic springs (some radioactive)

  • Holocene relative sea-level oscillations (The upper marine limit on Disko is located 60-100 m above sea level)

  • Access to high-dynamic, glacial geomorphical landscape

  • The best possible diversity on a world-wide basis of large and active rockglaciers.

  • Access to coastal barriers, lagunes, wadden sea areas, salt marshes and a large variety of cliff coasts.

  • Access to 6 out of 11 'Ramsar' areas in Greenland.

  • Rich plant communities with approx. 250 of a total of 500 flowering plants found in Greenland

  • Some of Greenlands largest bird cliffs (Fullmar, gulls, Cormorant, and Guillemot)

  • Adjacent commercial fishing and shrimping banks

  • Traditional seal, whale and walrus hunting

  • Biotic and abiotic ecosystem monitoring at the Arctic Station and at Akulliit (Mellemfjord)

  • Ecosystem data directory and database for the study area

  • Easily accessible paleo-environment archives


The majority of the ongoing monitoring at Arctic Station has now been incorporated into the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring (GEM)  where Arctic Station is one of three main sites together with Zackenberg and Nuuk . GEM is a longterm monitoring programme operated by Greenlandic and Danish research institutions. The focus of GEM is on Arctic ecosystems and climate change effects and feedbacks in Greenland.

There are several sub-programmes within the GEM monitoring and the following are present in Disko:

MarineBasis: University of Copenhagen and Technical University of Denmark (Lead institutions)

ClimateBasis: Asiaq, Greenland Survey (Lead institution)

GeoBasis: University of Copenhagen (Lead Institution)

GlacioBasis: GEUS, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (Lead institution)

The institutions named in the brackets run the sub-programmes in cooperation with the staff at Arctic Station.

The overall objective is to establish baseline knowledge by systematic longterm data collection on fundamental parameters that describes the biological and geophysical state of the terrestrial, glacial and marine environments.

Information and guidelines about sampling procedures, methodologies and instrumentation are available in manuals for each sub-programme.



All data are freely available after internal validation. Data can downloades from the public GEM database. For other monitoring data from Arctic Station than GEM data, please contact the Arctic Station Secretariat. Please acknowledge Arctic Station in any type of publication, poster etc. that holds data provided by Arctic Station and forward a copy of the publication to the Arctic Station Secretariat. A brief summary of selected parameters is presented in the Annual Report from Arctic Station, published by Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.