We are challenging the common perception that the polar night is void of life. First, we measured the photosynthetic capability of macro algae in the extreme light limited environment. Surprisingly we found that the dark-acclimated macro algae were capable of utilizing light that was put into the system in a much similar way as light-acclimated macro algae.
In addition, we deployed a time lapse camera for 60 hours, taking a picture every 5 minutes in an attempt to capture the biology in the system. 2 polar cods were placed on a rod in front of the camera to capture the scavengers active during the polar night. The results show significant biological activity on the benthos including whelks, amphipods, crabs, fish, etc most of which are feeding on the polar cod bait. The film is an example of how much polar cod has been consumed in a 12 hour interval. We expected significant bait consumption but we didn’t expect it to happen at such a fast rate, we were also unsure of the players that would be feasting on the polar cod. The film is a really good example of how active an ecosystem can be in low light environments.
Kaytee, Stein and Ingunn