Nansen Legacy to sample Russian waters

Vladimir Savinov, a researcher at Akvaplan-niva (APN), is among the scientific crew on the R/V Dalnie Zelentsy, a 55 m Russian ship conducting monitoring surveys in the eastern Barents Sea.

Through a collaborative agreement between the Murmansk Marine Biological Laboratory (MMBI) and APN, Savinov will sample sediments, zooplankton, fish, and seawater for use by several Nansen Legacy researchers. The cruise track allows valuable complementary spatial coverage of the northern Barents Sea, expanding sampling domains to the northeastern regions rarely available to Norwegian researchers.

Russian researchers have been sampling the eastern Barents Sea for over a hundred years, and their knowledge of the system is extensive. MMBI has also been a key player fisheries research and fisheries-related monitoring programs. Therefore, collaboration through this cruise and other related projects will be extremely valuable for achieving Norwegian research objectives.

Samples collected on this cruise, taking place within a few weeks of the second Nansen Legacy seasonal expedition, will broaden the regional perspective of questions raised by Nansen Legacy researchers. This will aid in reaching the project goals of improved understanding and management of the changing communities and processes of the northern Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Ocean.

Sissel Jentoft from the University of Oslo notes how this opportunity contributes to her Nansen Legacy work: “Our overall goal is to investigate the roles of spatiotemporal population structure and possible local adaptations in three key fish in the northern Barents Sea ecosystem: the Atlantic cod, capelin and polar cod. Getting access to samples from the eastern side of the Barents Sea – in addition to those that we sample ourselves as part of the Nansen Legacy cruises – enables us to fully investigate the potential sup-population structure(s) for these species throughout their distribution in this region. Further, these samples will be of importance for a more detailed assessment of signatures of directional selection, i.e. identifying how the different sub-populations respond to e.g. warming of the Arctic oceans.”

Cruise plan for the October 2019 Russian cruise (bright red lines), leaving from Murmansk and offloading in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The blue box indicates the location of the Nansen Legacy transect.