Present and Norse Greenlandic hayfields - Insect assemblages and human impact in southern Greenland

Eva Panagiotakopulu, Ashley Buchan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study uses new data on insect biodiversity from a modern sheep farm environment in southern Greenland, and compares the results with fossil assemblages from the same region and other relevant sites in Greenland. The study was conducted on sheep farms at Tasiusaq and Qorlortup Itinnera in southern Greenland (61°N, 45°W). Data have also been drawn from 17 Quaternary and archaeological sites from Greenland with an emphasis on Norse insect assemblages from the same area. Species diversity and abundance of Coleoptera from the modern samples were relatively low, while Hemiptera were dominant in all habitats sampled around the hayfields. The first local extinctions in the natural beetle fauna appear with the initiation of Norse settlement. The diversity of Coleoptera in the modern samples is lower compared to the Norse faunas and this could partly be a result of mechanised agriculture. The Hemiptera demonstrate the exact opposite pattern. The modern samples include a similar range of Hemiptera species to their Norse equivalent, although the intensification in grass production is evident in the modern faunas. The increase of diversity in Hemiptera coincides with Landnám, with four additional species recorded from the Norse assemblages; the hemipterous faunas provide a signal for haymaking in the fossil record of Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-931
Number of pages10
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number6
Early online date17 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Coleoptera, diversity, farming, fossil insects, Greenland, Hemiptera, Norse


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