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Zackenberg Research Station

STATION NAME AND OWNER: Zackenberg Research Station is owned by the government of Greenland. Aarhus University (Denmark) is responsible for running the station.

LOCATION: Zackenberg Research Station is located in Young Sund – Tyrolerfjord complex in Northeast Greenland. The station is situated in the southern part of the National Park of North and East Greenland, the largest national park in the world (approximately 1 million km2). The nearest settlement is the military outpost Daneborg (with a marine research facility), 25 km southeast of the station. The nearest town is Ittoqqortoormiit, 450 km south of the station.

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: Zackenberg Research Station is situated in the High Arctic in an area with continuous permafrost. The study area comprises the drainage basin of the river Zackenbergelven, with a total size of c. 500 km2. A great variety of biotopes like ponds, fens, heaths, fell field plateaus and grasslands occur within the core study area. Muskoxen, lemming, Arctic fox, and Arctic hare are among the common mammals in the area, while polar bear and Arctic wolf are occasional visitors.

HISTORY AND FACILITIES: In 1974, a national park was established in Northeast Greenland, which became a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1977. In 1991, the first expedition under the research programme Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations was made to Zackenberg. In 1995, a temporary field station was established, and in 1997 Zackenberg Research Station was officially opened.

Each year, the station is manned from 1 May to 31 October. In the remaining part of the year, the station is only in use if needed. The station has 25 beds, two laboratories, a workshop, a mess with cook and satellite-based telephone, fax, and email service. An accommodation and laboratory facility for marine research is located next to the military outpost Daneborg. This facility accommodates 10 scientists.

GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES: Zackenberg Research Station provides facilities for specific but comprehensive research projects and for an extensive long-term research/ monitoring programme, called Zackenberg Basic. Zackenberg Basic consists of five subprogrammes: ClimateBasis (monitoring the climate), GeoBasis (monitoring the carbon balance of the ecosystem, other feedbacks to Climate Change, and physical landscape processes), BioBasis (monitoring the living nature), MarineBasis (monitoring physical and biological processes in the marine ecosystem), and GlacioBasis (monitoring the mass balance of local glaciers). At the station, there are approximaxely 25 ongoing projects per year, of which about two third focus on Climate Change feedbacks. Results from the research and monitoring at Zackenberg are reported in the ZERO Annual Reports published by Aarhus University. PDF-versions of the annual reports are available at The database of the Zackenberg Basic monitoring is available for direct access through the internet at This homepage also holds the manuals for the different monitoring sub-programmes. All data from Zackenberg Basic are provided free-of-charge to any scientist interested in making use of the data for scientific purposes. Existing databases also include a bibliography of publications arising from research at the station, since it opened in 1995, and a GIS of the study area with access through the internet.

HUMAN DIMENSION: The nearest town is Ittoqqortoormiit, 450 km to the south. The population in Ittoqqortoormiit is approximately 450 people. Zackenberg Research Station cooperates with other field stations in Greenland (Arctic Station, Sermilik Station, Villum Research Station and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources), and two Greenlandic research institutes (Asiaq and Pinngortitalerifik) are involved in the work at Zackenberg.

ACCESS: Transport to and from Zackenberg Research Station is handled by the Zackenberg Secretariat at Aarhus University as a package solution from any airport serviced by Icelandair. Travels are based on a combination of commercial flights (to Akureyri on Iceland) and charter flights (from Akureyri to Zackenberg). It is mandatory to submit an application to the Zackenberg Secretariat prior to the visit of the station. The application will be reviewed by a scientific committee and afterwards the secretariat will take care of all practicalities in relation to logistics.

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