A boat loaded with tomorrow’s polar scientists

Norway has always been a polar nation. The search for Arctic marine natural resources gave Norwegians early experience and knowledge of Arctic waters, which were later strengthened and systematically described by great scientists such as Fridtjof Nansen and Harald Ulrik Sverdrup, to name only a few.

Today, Norway has several research institutes and many researchers who monitor and explore Arctic waters. The knowledge this research has generated over the years is a major reason why the Northeast Arctic cod is one of the world’s best managed fish stocks. Today where climatic changes have already led to a significant reduction in the Arctic sea ice cover, monitoring and researching the Arctic Ocean is more important than ever in order to manage these waters in a sustainable way for the future. While changes in the Arctic are accelerating, many of Norway’s foremost polar scientists are approaching retirement age. Norway therefore needs a new generation of polar scientists who can continue the good work and give us the necessary knowledge to meet and manage the future Arctic.

The Nansen Legacy project is therefore not only generating knowledge about the unexplored northern part of the Barents Sea, but also educating a new generation of polar scientists. Over the next five years about 50 young marine scientists will be trained. These young scientists come from Norway and many other countries, and bring with them different expertise about the marine environment and industry. Some of them are oceanographers, other chemists, geologists, meteorologists, biologists, toxicologists, engineers, or programmers. In the Nansen Legacy project these young scientists will work across disciplines in order to develop a broader and more comprehensive understanding of how this part of the Arctic works. For many of them, the research icebreaker ‘Kronprins Haakon’ is an important work platform.

Fourteen postdoctoral fellows, PhDs and master students from the Nansen Legacy project are now out on a research cruise in the Northern Barents Sea. Among them is PhD fellow Marti Amargant Arumi, who studies how microscopic small algae grow in sea ice and Arctic waters. Marti came to Tromsø as a master’s student in 2016, fell in love with life in the High North – and never left. This summer, his biggest dream came true, and he became part of the Nansen Legacy’s young research team. Also on board is Karoline Saubrekka, who began her PhD at UiO just a few days before the cruise. Originally, Karoline did not want to join a cruise, because she was reluctant to be away from her little son. However, in the end, the temptation to collect her own samples and learn with the other young scientists became too great, and Karoline jumped onboard.

You can join Marti, Karoline and the other young Nansen Legacy scientists on forskning.no.