The international conference in arctic fox biology is the most important meeting point for arctic fox researchers, conservation managers, policy makers, tour operators, students and any other people interested in arctic foxes and its arctic habitats and ecosystems. It has for a long time been a tradition that end-users of environmental research, i.e. various stakeholders and management authorities participate at these conferences.

Practical Information will be announced later
Submission of abstract is not opened

What to do in the meantime?

We have arranged a total of four virtual seminar events while we are waiting for the arctic fox Conference in Svalbard and this seminar series is now over.

We still hope as many as possible will finally be able to meet at the 6th International Conference in Arctic Fox Biology in Svalbard 26-29 August 2022.

Last seminar:

Thursday 3 March 2022: Arctic foxes in Iceland.

The fourth virtual seminar will be held as a Teams meeting Thursday 3 March 2022 (from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Norway time) where Ester, Fanny, Madison, Rakel, Julian, Birte and Dominik, will tell us about their studies and we will be introduced to four field sites in Low Arctic Iceland (East Iceland, Westfjords and Hornstrandir) where they worked with arctic foxes (see the map).

Iceland

The Arctic fox is the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland where the species is found in all regions and, since Iceland has no lemmings, birds are dominating in the diet. The Arctic fox serves as a top-predator amongst white-tailed eagles and gyrfalcons, but no red foxes live in Iceland. As an isolated island in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland holds rather species-poor fauna with two main ecosystems, coastal and inland. The coastal areas consist of large seabird colonies and productive beaches whereas at the inland areas, the residential ptarmigan, migrating geese and waders are amongst the main prey, besides reindeer carcasses. The species is under quite a heavy hunting pressure and the monitoring program consists of harvest data, age cohort-analysis, carcass measurements and field surveys with den occupancy rate and litter size/survival measurements, with the addition of short camera trap seasons. In this seminar, studies on Arctic fox diet and direct and/or indirect environmental and/or anthropogenic effects on the Arctic fox, on population and individual levels, will be introduced. All the samples and data were derived from the monitoring program, led by the Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH).

West Iceland, Reykjavík capital (64°4´27´´N, -21°54´19´´W)

The study area is a 5×5 km plot, adjacent to the edge of the capital area. The western part of the study area (5×1 km) is along a highway and includes a recent residential area with 1.600 apartments, a school, premises with shopping centres, golf course and scattered buildings at each side of a vegetated lava field, which converts into a recreational area where the natural habitat of the native Arctic fox used to be before the capital expanded. The foxes of this study would be regarded as inland ecotype.

Westfjords (65°56´38´´N, -22°35´20´´W)

The Westfjords are a region that lies by the Denmark Strait, connected to the rest of Iceland by a 12km wide isthmus. Steep mountains and fjords characterise this region. The foxes of this study area are regarded as coastal ecotype.

Hornstrandir Nature reserve (66°27´54´´N, -22°36´48´´W)

Hornstrandir is the northernmost peninsula that lies in the Westfjords region of Iceland, uninhabited since the 1950’s, and a protected nature reserve since 1975. Arctic foxes have been protected in the nature reserve since 1995 and in this 580km2 area holds around 45 Arctic fox territories. The foxes of this study area are regarded as coastal ecotype.

East Iceland, Melrakkaslétta  (66°29’27″N 16°14’40.6″W)

Just 3000 Meters away from the arctic circle, the peninsula of Melrakkaslétta constitutes a plain (melrakki: Arctic fox, slétta: Icelandic for plain,) landscape, dominated by dwarf shrubs with several water bodies and an extended coastline, great for arctic fox hunting marine and terrestrial prey.

The Arctic fox of Iceland

Dr. Ester Rut Unnsteinsdóttir will start with a five-minute introduction on the Arctic fox monitoring project in Iceland, the backbone for the studies that will be introduced in the seminar.
Ester is a mammal ecologist at IINH and has been responsible for the Arctic fox monitoring in Iceland since after the death of her mentor, Prof. Páll Hersteinsson, in 2011. Since 1998, she has visited the Arctic fox population in Hornstrandir nature serve, the most important sanctuary for the species in Iceland. Ester founded and established The Arctic Fox Centre that opened in Westfjords in 2010.

Fanny Berthelot will give a five-minute presentation on the fluctuations in resource use in the Icelandic arctic fox population. Using stable isotope analysis of bone collagen over a long-time series (1979-2018), she aimed at identifying the main resources used by Icelandic arctic foxes during periods of growth and decline to assess if the variations in their population size were linked to fluctuations in the availability of resources.

Fanny has a master’s degree in biology from the University of Tromsø (Norway), and is now working on publishing her research.

 

Madison Bradley-Cronkwright will give a five-minute presentation about using geometric morphometrics to test whether foxes within the two Icelandic ecotypes have distinct lower jaw morphology based on differences in their dietary composition. In 2018, she sampled a subset of 290 individuals from the collection housed at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History with representatives spanning four decades. This sample provided an additional opportunity to investigate ecotype-specific differences in jaw morphology through time.
Madison is a PhD Candidate in the Evolutionary Anthropology Department at Duke University and holds a Masters of Biological Anthropology (interdisciplinary specialization) from the University of Calgary. 

Rakel Dawn Hanson will start with a five-minute presentation about the urbanisation of the Arctic fox around Reykjavik and how urban expansion is impacting their behaviour.

Rakel is a zoologist with a master’s degree in wildlife Conservation and has previously done research on Southern Sea Otters in Monterey Bay. She is currently working as a researcher for a Natural History production company in Bristol. Her interests lie in human wildlife relationships, with particular focus on urban mammals.

 

Julian Ohl will give a five-minute presentation about his study on purple coloured Arctic fox bones.

Julian studied the master’s programme Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland, after finishing his Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Düsseldorf. For his master’s thesis, Julian was the first to investigate a purple discolouration of Arctic fox bones that can be found in Iceland.

 

Birte Technau will give a five minutes presentation about her study on plastic ingestion in Arctic foxes in Iceland.

Birte studied Arctic fox diet and plastic ingestion using faecal samples from 1999, 2017, 2018 and 2020 with a focus on samples from the Hornstrandir nature reserve, to compare plastics and anthropogenic debris in foxes in space and time.  Aim of this study was to investigate the potential for using Arctic fox faecal analysis as a monitoring method for plastic pollution in the Arctic environment. She is currently writing an article with Ester Unnsteinsdóttir to publish her research.

Dominik Arend will give a five-minute presentation on how arctic foxes subsidize soil nutrition and plant communities on their dens. He recently (2021) investigated the influence of arctic fox on nitrate and phosphate levels and its after-effects on plant species composition. Hereby, he linked traditional techniques (e.g., Braun-Blanquet vegetation sampling, linear models) with novel methods of ecology (quick-test stripes, apps, multivariate Bayesian modeling).

Dominik just finished his master’s degree in environmental sciences and is now working as a research assistant at the university of Freiburg, striving to find a Ph.D. position.

map

Thursday 28 January 2022: Arctic foxes at Erkuta river and Sabetta river in Low Arctic Yamal, Russia

The third virtual seminar will be held as a Teams meeting (from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Norway time) where Aleksandr A. Sokolov, Dorothee Ehrich, Stijn Hofhuis, Natalya A. Sokolova and Kirill Shklyar will take us to 2 field sites in Low Arctic Yamal, Russia where they work with arctic foxes at Erkuta river and Sabetta river (see the map). The Yamal Peninsula has diverse communities of terrestrial vertebrates, with the narrow-headed vole as the main prey for Arctic fox, Rough-legged Buzzard, Long-tailed and Arctic Skuas and Weasel. However, the relative density of some species varies greatly between sites (for example, Red fox as a competitor in Erkuta and Siberian lemming as a main prey in Sabetta). At each site, the reproduction of Arctic foxes is monitored. Research projects also address the impact of subsidies (reindeer carcasses, anthropogenic subsidies), variation in predation pressure on waders (from 2015-2016) and movement ecology of arctic foxes (from 2017-2018). Erkuta river (68°13’N, 69°09’E): This site is located in the broad valley of the Erkuta and Payuta rivers and consists of a mosaic of different biotopes typical for the low Arctic (subzone E). Monitoring of Arctic foxes started in 2007. Sabetta river (71°18’N, 71°49’E): This site is located in the broad valley of the Sabetta river at the border between the high Arctic and the low Arctic. Monitoring of Arctic foxes started in 2014. Aleksandr A. Sokolov will start with a 10 minutes presentation about Yamal, and one case study answering the question what Arctic fox teeth can tell us? Aleksandr is vice-director and researcher at the Arctic Research Station of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His research interests include predator prey interactions involving in particular birds of prey and the impacts of climate change and human use on tundra ecosystems. Dorothee Ehrich will give a 10 minutes presentation about arctic fox monitoring at Ekuta and the dynamics of this population. Dorothee is researcher at UiT—The Arctic University of Norway, working in the Climate Ecological Observatory for Arctic Tundra (COAT). Her research focuses on changes in tundra ecosystems related to climate and human activities, in particular trophic interactions. Stijn Hofhuis will give a 10 minutes presentation about breeding den selection by Arctic foxes in southern Yamal Peninsula. Stijn is a PhD student at UiT—The Arctic University of Norway, working on habitat use and movement ecology of foxes in the low Arctic. Natalya A. Sokolova will give a 10 minutes presentation about the Sabetta field site. Natalya is a researcher at the Arctic Research Station of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her research interests include ecology of species and sustainable terrestrial ecosystems in the Arctic. Kirill Shklyar will end the seminar by giving a 10 minutes presentation about Sabetta site (movement of ecology). Kirill is a research engineer at the Arctic Research Station of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His research interests include ecology of species and movement ecology.

Circumpolar map showing Yamal Peninsula and the two arctic fox field sites Erkuta river and Sabetta.

Past seminars

Introduction / Venue

The 6th International Conference in Arctic Fox Biology

The international conference in arctic fox biology is the most important meeting point for arctic fox researchers, conservation managers, policy makers, tour operators, students and any other people interested in arctic foxes and its arctic habitats and ecosystems. It has for a long time been a tradition that end-users of environmental research, i.e. various stakeholders and management authorities participate at these conferences.

Since 1991, circumpolar arctic fox biologists have established a network which has previously arranged five international conferences in arctic fox biology. The conferences took place in Sweden in 1991 and 2009, in the UK in 2001, in Iceland in 2013 and in Canada in 2017. The now upcoming conference will for the first time be arranged by Norway, through the Norwegian Polar Institute, in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

The 6th international conference in arctic fox biology will be held at Svalbard Science Centre, the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)/Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), https://www.unis.no/

Longyearbyen, Svalbard August 26-29, 2022.

Registration

For all of you who have already signed up for the conference that was scheduled to be held in 2020, which now has been postponed to 2022 because of COVID-19, have to register again.

We will run the conference in 2022 as a hybrid event allowing for both in-person and remote/online participation. The participant fee is differentiated for in-person and online participants.

Conference program book

Downlaod the Arctic Fox Conference program book

Conference content in short

Climate warming is rapidly increasing in the Arctic as well as the tourism activity. In order to start a discussion about climate change, increased tourism, vulnerable Arctic species and ecosystems, and how to build on knowledge to develop sustainable tourism, we start the conference with a workshop and a panel discussion with the title ISSUES OF TOURISM AND ARCTIC WILDLIFE at the first conference day (26 August 2022). The “Conference Icebreaker happening” will be held the same evening. The second and third day (27–28 August 2022) are for presentations held by the arctic fox researchers and poster sessions. For the fourth day (29 August 2022) we will have a field trip by boat in the Isfjorden area for the conference participants.

Practical information

The participants have to book flight and accommodation themselves. Since summer in Svalbard is a high season and destination for tourists, we recommend to book flights to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and hotel room as soon as possible.

Please see flight schedules and information about available hotels here:

Flights to and from Svalbard (SK=SAS, DY=Norwegian):

To Svalbard

Thursday 25 August 2022:

SK4414 OSLO OSL – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 09:55 – 14:00 

SK4406 OSLO OSL – TROMSØ TOS         08:00 – 09:50

SK4414 TROMSØ TOS – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 12:25 – 14:00 

SK 330 OSLO OSL – TRONDHEIM TRD      06:55 – 07:50

SK4556 TRONDHEIM TRD – TROMSØ TOS    09:00 – 11:10

SK4414 TROMSØ TOS – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 12:25 – 14:00

 

Friday 26 August 2022:

SK4490 OSLO OSL – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 09:45 – 12:40

SK4496 OSLO OSL – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 21:45 – 00:40+1 

DY 396 OSLO OSL – LONGYEARBYEN LYR 09:15 – 13:40

 

From Svalbard

Monday 29 August 2022:

SK4497 LONGYEARBYEN LYR – OSL OSLO 02:30 – 05:25 

DY 397 LONGYEARBYEN LYR – OSL OSLO 14:25 – 18:30 

SK4425 LONGYEARBYEN LYR – OSL OSLO 14:45 – 18:55

 

Tuesday 30 August 2022:

SK4425 LONGYEARBYEN LYR – OSL OSLO 1445    1855 

SK4425 LONGYEARBYEN LYR – TROMSØ TOS 14:45 – 16:20

SK4431 TROMSØ TOS – OSLO OSL         18:45 – 20:35

 

Hotels

Other hotels in Longyearbyen – please note that the conference has no discounted rates at these hotels:

Svalbard Hotel & Lodge

booking@svalbardhotell.com

Tel: +47 79 02 50 01

Hotel Svalbard The Vault

https://www.visitsvalbard.com/overnatting/svalbard-hotell-the-vault-p3593413

Tel: +47 79025004

Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg

https://polarriggen.com/rooms/

Tel: +47 94007780

Gjestehuset

https://www.gjestehuset102.no/nb/

Tel: +47 900 30 321

Haugen Pensjonat

https://www.haugenpensjonat.no/index.html

Tel: +47 79021249

Longyearbyen Camping:

http://www.longyearbyen-camping.com/

Tel: +47 79021444 (during season)

Email: mail@longyearbyen-camping.com

Registration

Registration and abstract submissions are now open.

We will run the conference in 2022 as a hybrid event allowing for both in-person and remote/online participation. The participant fee is differentiated for in-person and online participants. The in-person participant fee for the conference is:

Regular in-person participant – 2000 NOK

Student in-person participant PhD, Master or Bachelor student – 1500 NOK (Send a copy of your student ID or a confirmation from your supervisor to anne.kibsgaard@npolar.no)

The online participant fee for the conference is:

Online regular participant – 500 NOK

Online student participant, PhD or Master or Bachelor student – 350 NOK

The participant fee must be paid by Invoice that will be sent to you after registration.

Registration closes June 1, 2022.

For questions regarding registration please contact Anne Kibsgaard (anne.kibsgaard@npolar.no)
mob. +47 91700365.

Abstract

Submission of abstract is closed.

Abstract must be submitted no later than 4 Mars 2022.

Abstract template

Download the template

Abstract result

The Scientific Committee for the conference will review the submitted abstract and select presentation format and you will be notified in mid-March 2022.

For questions regarding abstract submission please contact Eva Fuglei (eva.fuglei@npolar.no)

Contacts

Conference secretariat

Anne Kibsgaard
Senior Executive Officer

Anne.Kibsgaard@npolar.no
+47 91700365
contact regarding registration and practical information


Eva Fuglei
Research scientist, biology

Eva.Fuglei@npolar.no
+47 915 70 729
contact regarding abstracts and scientific programme


Chloé Nater
Researcher (NINA)

chloe.nater@nina.no
+47 913 58 598

Sponsors

Sysselmesteren logo

Partners

UIT the arctic university of Norway

Providers

Fruene logo

Hurtigruten Svalbard