In search of Ivory Gull: a sentinel species of climate change in the most threatened and remote areas of Greenland.

Species living in the Arctic are facing strong environmental changes. Forecasting impacts of such changes on endemic Arctic species require a full understanding of their ecology and habitat requirement. A limited number of sea ice associated Arctic species act as sentinel species, whose ecological responses to the consequences of environmental modifications deserve special attention. This is the case of the Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea), a species that entirely completes its life-cycle in the Arctic and is thus directly facing impacts of the Arctic alteration. Here, we propose to use complementary approaches to investigate the demographic trend, change of space use and contaminant load of Arctic species under climate change and other environmental modifications (i.e. an increase of bird exposure to contaminants), with Ivory Gull as case study species. We will combine a genomic approach (high-throughput sequencing) to infer population dynamics and population genomic structure with GPS tracking used to infer movements and habitat selection of Ivory Gull throughout its distribution range. In addition, we will assess the contaminant loads of ivory gulls in its last Greenlandic breeding strongholds. Our complementary approach will produce fundamental biological information for the conservation of the Ivory Gull in the context of climate change and of the planned exploitation of its offshore feeding grounds.