Now three three researchers involved in the Nansen Legacy project – Julia Giebichenstein (UiO), Lise Øvreås (UiB) and Mats Granskog (NPI) – were appointed members of the Norwegian Ocean Decade committee. The task of the committee will be to ensure that the Norwegian effort achieves the goal of the Ocean Decade. The committee will provide advice and exchange information, but also be a strong ambassador for the Decade, and participate in various activities. The Nansen Legacy project is happy to see that its scientists are invited to contribute and engage in this important mission, and values especially that this includes a representative of the large number of early career scientists of the project.
Three Nansen Legacy researchers are appointed members of the Norwegian Ocean Decade committee. From the top left: Lise Øvreås, professor at UiB; Mats Granskog, researcher at NPI; and Julia Giebichenstein, PhD student at UiO.
The Nansen Legacy has over 70 early career scientists on different career stages. Julia Giebichenstein (UiO) is one of 28 PhD students in the project. She studies the effects of seasonality and species distribution on contaminant levels in the northern Barents Sea food web. Julia has a strong engagement for science communication. She is running the project’s Instagram account @nansenlegacyresearch, has organized outreach activities for schools, and has been part in writing an Arctic Assessment and Monitoring Programme (AMAP) report on environmental pollutants. Now she will take her experience and expertise into the committee work for the Ocean Decade.
Julia, congratulations with your appointment as member of the Norwegian Ocean Decade committee! What is your motivation for joining the committee?
Thank you, I am super excited to be part of this committee! My main motivation is to step outside the “science bubble” and transfer the knowledge we generate in the scientific community to the public and policy makers. It has always been one of my dreams to work at the interface of science and policy making and to bridge the gap between science and the public, so joining a committee that works on exactly the topics that I am most passionate about made a dream come true for me.
How do you think that you as an early career scientists bring another perspective and thinking into the committee than older, more established researchers?
I hope to balance the group of established researchers out a bit. I am entirely new to this sort of work and might bring less established opinions and fresh ideas to the table. However, I also strongly believe that this is a two-way street. I am very much looking forward to learning from the other members in the committee.
What do you think will be the most important for you to focus on as Ocean Decade committee member?
I have been advocating for science communication with youth and kids since I started my studies and believe this is one of the key areas where I can contribute to the Ocean Decade committee. Increased ocean literacy is also one of the goals that was set for Norway, thus the relevance is already in focus. As a passionate soon-to-be Arctic ecotoxicologist, my heart beats for anthropogenic impacts, like pollution, on the world’s oceans and particularly the Arctic. I have been joining and organizing beach cleanups and although these actions are very impact- and meaningful, I look forward to not only work on the clean-up but also at the root of these issues.
The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development aims at generating new scientific knowledge to help improve the management of the ocean. Do you think that your experience from a cross-disciplinary, holistic project such as the Nansen Legacy helps you to envision how research needs to be organized in order to fulfill the Ocean Decade’s aim?
Most definitely! One of the things I like most about the Nansen Legacy is that we work as a team. We generate datasets that will be shared with and be accessible to everybody, which has strengthened cooperation within the project and has opened new ways of collaboration and sparked new ideas for future studies. To me, this experience reshaped my thinking of science and collaboration, and I hope that Nansen Legacy members will transport and share this experience outside the Nansen Legacy, too.
Although not an Ocean Decade project, the Nansen Legacy contributes to several of the declared goals of the decade:
Goal 1. A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed
The Nansen Legacy investigates the concentrations and effects of different environmental pollutants – from mercury to crude oil and plastics – in the ecosystem of the northern Barents Sea, and concomitantly aids to the scientific knowledge that is a prerequisite for the management and regulation of pollutants.
Goal 2. A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are mapped and protected
The Nansen Legacy maps the northern Barents Sea ecosystem from its physical and chemical drivers to its complex biology, helping to evaluate the health and resilience of this ecosystem. The project also helps developing new technologies and methods, allowing improved surveillance of pollutants and ecosystem health in ice-covered waters.
Goal 3. A predictable ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future ocean conditions
Understanding current and future conditions of the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Ocean is the foremost goal of the Nansen Legacy. The Nansen Legacy investigates the Barents Sea ecosystem from its physical and chemical drivers to its biology, in both the past and present. Advanced mathematical computer simulations are used to investigate future conditions of the Barents Sea ecosystem.
Goal 4. A sustainably harvested ocean ensuring the provision of food supply
The Nansen Legacy’s research contributes to the ongoing scientific discussion on how to ensure sustainable harvest in the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Ocean. The Nansen Legacy consortium purposely includes the two major Norwegian monitoring and management institutions concerning the Arctic marine environment, namely the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Institute of Marine Research. These scientists ensures a complementary management perspective and direct transfer of new scientific knowledge gained by the Nansen Legacy into management advice and important forecasting systems.
Goal 5. A transparent ocean with open access to data, information and technologies
The Nansen Legacy’s data policy is based on the FAIR principle of open access for any interested party to data, observations and scientific reports, free of charge.
Goal 6. An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean
The Nansen Legacy works for an effective dissemination of its results and increased ocean literacy on different levels.