VEO Greenland Expedition 2022

VEO releases video of Greenland expedition from 2022, sampling of migratory birds, mosquitos and environmental samples

Monday 25 Sep 23


Marion Koopmans
Coordinator of VEO
Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam
After more than a year’s postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VEO conducted a migratory bird, mosquito and environmental sampling expedition to west Greenland in 2022. This region was chosen because climate change is expected to impact the ecosystem, which has the potential to fundamentally change the dynamics of infectious diseases. This video was produced to demonstrate the surveillance and sampling effort that will provide a baseline for current and future studies of zoonotic wildlife and mosquito-borne diseases in this region.

This expedition was postponed in May 2021 due the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic (travel restrictions), but the VEO expedition to Greenland for sampling and surveillance was finally able to happen in 2022. The team is now releasing a video, made by a participating team member of the expedition, to illustrate some of the challenges and demands of such remote fieldwork. This video demonstrates some of the efforts behind the science (gathering samples and surveillance data), and the essential, organized, and disciplined teamwork required for success in capturing birds and collecting mosquito and environmental samples in such a vast wilderness.

This month-long expedition included 10 members whose expertise included a veterinarian, ornithologists, ecologists, and an expedition leader with essential local geographical knowledge and practical experience in this environment. A second expedition to Greenland took place during the summer of 2023. Compilation of data and analysis of results are ongoing.

The VEO Greenland expedition has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 874735, and was planned and enabled in collaboration with the Greenland White-fronted Goose Study Group (GWfGS). VEO acknowledges the Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Business and Trade of the Greenland Government for authorizing the 2022 sampling expedition (and the subsequent 2023 expedition).

The VEO project, versatile emerging infectious disease observatory: Forecasting, nowcasting and tracking in a changing world, has five scenario-based work packages:

  • Mosquito-Borne Diseases Use Case Scenario (WP05)
  • Zoonotic Wildlife Use Case Scenario (WP06)
  • The Changing Cryosphere – Climate Use Case Scenario (WP07)
  • Understanding Silent Epidemics Use Case Scenario (WP08)
  • Disease X Use Case Scenario (WP09)

WP06 and WP07 have crossover relations to determine

  • Can we identify the key wild bird species acting as reservoirs or long-distance carriers of zoonotic avian viruses in Europe by a combination of tools developed in VEO for molecular and serological surveillance?


  • What is the impact of changing migratory bird routes in Greenland on zoonotic wildlife and mosquito-borne disease?

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