From early 2015, a new project will be initiated within the mare Incognitum family. Not only is it a new project, it is the largest project so far of all Mre Incognitum projects with a total budget of 50 million NOK.
This innovative and challenging research project is spearheaded by the development of new autonomous underwater technology, with the primary goal of determining the ecosystem consequences of the ongoing reduction in the Arctic sea ice. The project is based on three tightly-linked core modules: The applied technology module focuses on data acquisition and autonomous observations in areas and habitats yet to be systematically and scientifically explored. Specifically, we will develop an under-ice-tethered observatory (see picture) with real-time data transmission to be deployed for a full year in the Central Arctic Ocean. The biological interactions module focuses on coupling processes between the sea-ice and the ocean, aimed at answering the fundamental question of whether species composition and production regimes in Arctic marine ecosystems will be permanently altered following a continued reduction of the Arctic ice cover. The consequences module will explore and forecast possible consequences of reduced ice cover at increasing levels of complexity, ranging from individuals to populations up to the entire ecosystem and society at large and geopolitics. The project focuses on method development, technology adaption to an extreme operating environment, consequences for the deep central Arctic Ocean ecosystem of climate change, and on building a cross-disciplinary nationally and internationally coordinated consortium bridging technology and life sciences.
The Marine Night project was invited to give one of three presentations at this year's Kings Bay juleseminar (Christmas seminary). On behalf of the project, Eva Leu presented first results of our 2014 winter campaign in Kongsfjorden in January 2014. As this has been the by far largest research activity ever carried out in Ny-Ålesund in the middle of wintertime, it was a very special experience – not only for us, but also for the people working there. We had gotten fantastic support this year, and I was informed that the window front in the Marine Lab has already been covered again with two layers of rubbish bags for our coming January campaign. The audience was very interested to hear results about the high levels of biological activities we had observed, and were impressed by the strong national and international collaboration network, interdisciplinarity, and involvement of students in our project. You can find the presentation, with some of the preliminary Marine Night 2014 results here (PDF).
On 19th November 2014, Marine Night technician and Mare Incognitum webmaster Daniel Vogedes successfully defended his PhD thesis at UNIS (Svalbard). The title of the thesis is: Calanus spp. in t he Arctic ecosystem - a story on predation, distribution and methodology. The thesis consists of six published papers and a summary (listed in order of appearance in thesis):
- Synthesis (PDF) - print version or full PDF on request
- Gabrielsen T, Merkel B, Søreide J, Johansson-Karlsson E, Bailey A, Vogedes D, Nygård H, Varpe Ø, Berge J (2012) Potential misidentification of two climate indicator species of the marine arctic ecosystem: Calanus glacialis and C. finmarchicus. Polar Biol 35:1621-1628. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00300-012-1202-7
- Steen H, Vogedes D, Broms F, Falk-Petersen S, Berge J (2007) Little auks (Alle alle) breeding in a high Arctic fjord system: bimodal foraging strategies as a response to poor food quality? Polar Res 26:118-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-8369.2007.00022.x
- Vogedes D, Eiane K, Båtnes AS, Berge J (2014) Variability in Calanus spp. abundance on fine- to mesoscales in an Arctic fjord: implications for little auk feeding. Mar Biol Res 10:437-448. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2013.815781
- Vogedes D, Varpe Ø, Søreide J, Graeve M, Berge J, Falk-Petersen S (2010) Lipid sac area as a proxy for individual lipid content of arctic calanoid copepods. J Plankton Res 32:1471-1477. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbq068
- Daase M, Eiane K, Aksnes DL, Vogedes D (2008) Vertical distribution of Calanus spp. and Metridia longa at four Arctic locations. Mar Biol Res 4:193-207. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000801907948
- Berge J, Cottier F, Last KS, Varpe Ø, Leu E, Søreide J, Eiane K, Falk-Petersen S, Willis K, Nygard H, Vogedes D, Griffith C, Johnsen G, Lorentzen D, Brierley AS (2009) Diel vertical migration of Arctic zooplankton during the polar night. Biology Letters 5:69-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2008.0484
Marine ecological processes during the polar night – what do we know and how to proceed?
UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Campus Tromsø, 19th – 20th January 2015
The extended period of Arctic darkness, known as the polar night, may limit organism survival and reproductive success because of the associated food limitation. Even if the polar night only exist for +/-4 months, depending on latitude, Arctic marine environments may experience complete darkness for up to ten months because of extensive sea ice and snow conditions. A long overwintering period and a brief growing season are likely the main barriers for “temperate/lower latitude” species to keep sustainable populations in the Arctic. The temperate species lack the life history adaptations of high-Arctic species that allow them to cope with such extreme seasonality. However, our knowledge on winter ecology is extremely poor in comparison to ecological processes during the productive summer season. Gathering additional information on polar night ecology and processes is crucial, especially in light of expected impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems. We therefore invite you to this Big Black Box workshop to convene an international group of experts to
1) develop one white paper summarizing existing knowledge on winter ecology in the Arctic
2) identify the most critical knowledge-gaps
3) discuss a new international initiative/program focusing on polar night ecology
Deadline for travel funding 16 December 2014
Deadline for signing up 6 January 2015
Information and invitation: PDF
Application for funding: PDF
End of November German, Russian and Norwegian scientists and students involved in the projects CLEOPATRA II and COPPY met at Alfred Wegener Institute to discuss project results and publications. Project leader Janne E. Søreide (UNIS) gave also a lecture on stable isotope and fatty acid trophic markers at the weekly AWI colloquium with title:
Sympagic-pelagic-benthic coupling in Arctic marine ecosystems revealed by stable isotopic and fatty acid tracers
(for the talk see this PDF).
Is there a stronger resilience to climate change in Arctic marine organisms than anticipated? These organisms have evoloved unique adaptations to survive strong seasonal changes which may make them less vulnerable. The CLEOPATRA II project focuses on the Arctic zooplankton physiology and life history to predict the degree of match/mismatch of key biological proecesses in a changing Arctic. Read more in the recent outreach article in Science and Technology.
In the beginning of June the Cleopatra II team held a project meeting at UNIS in Longyearbyen. During three intense days all participants presented their work in progress – from zooplankton community analysis, lipids and stable isotopes, life history strategies to mortality risks and modelling. All in all it was a very successful meeting and several publications have been outlined. You can find the full meeting agenda here and the participant list here. Group picture by Eva Therese Jenssen, UNIS.
CLEOPATRA II has recently been in the field again, where also a combined UNIS master/PhD course was heavily involved. During May this year 19 master and PhD students from 11 different nations were introduced to the field sampling techniques in CLEOPATRA II during the 1 week long field work in Van Mijenfjorden, Svalbard in the course AB-330: Ecosystems in ice covered waters. The students got hands on experience in all the sampling gear and lab work which was carried out during the regular field campaigns. From ice cores to sediment samples a whole range of parameters were measured, resulting in lots of data both for the course and for CLEOPATRA II. In all campaigns a portable ROV was used to prepare under-ice sampling and for visual inspection of the under-ice surface. You can have a look a some footage from the ROV deployments at three different fjords and check out the variation in under-ice surface properties here:
Jasmine Nahrgang and coauthors have recently published a paper in PLOS ONE on the life history, reproductive strategy and effects of climate change on polar cod (Boeogadus saida). First of all, the paper for the first time ever document the existence oft a gender specific reproductive strategy in polar cod. Secondly, the paper compare wild populations from two fjords (Rijfjorden and Kongsfjorden) influenced by Arctic and Atlantic water masses, respectively, in order to predict how a future warmer Arctic will influence the ecological key species. Read the original research paper from PLOS ONE or some of the media coverage on the paper (below). The work is part of the Polaristaion project (http://site.uit.no/polarisation/), but is also connected to Circa.
Dagens Næringsliv 31.05.2014: Polartorsk på tallerkene (PDF)
Adressa.no 02.12.2014: Mangfold i fare (online)
- At the rainbows end - a story about whales and food
- Dark matter!
- 3 Polar Night articles in Svalbardposten
- Marine Night article by Eva Leu in Aftenposten
- Update from Marine Night in Ny-Ålesund
- The werewulf hunt in the media
- Werewolf hunt with obstacles (and isicles)
- Polar Night special issue - first online articles
- Marine Night in Svalbardposten
- Life's little mysteries!