A new generation of polar researchers is establishing

A major ambition of the Nansen Legacy project is the education and recruitment of a new generation of polar researchers, managers, educators and policy makers, who can help society to understand and manage the vast climate-induced changes in our polar environments. Hence, the over 70 Nansen Legacy PhD students and postdoctoral fellows are at the core of the project.

A giant research project like the Nansen Legacy – bridging institutions, disciplines, and generations – encourages the development of new networks, skills and competences among its young scientists, preparing them for important contributions both inside and outside academia.

The project is very happy that several of its postdoctoral fellows have now been offered permanent positions. Meet them here:

A. Sen

Photo: Andreas Wolden

Arunima Sen worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Nord University and Akvaplan-niva. In the Nansen Legacy she studied benthic ecology and carbon and nutrient cycling in the Barents Sea. She is now an associate professor in the Department of Biology at the University Centre of Svalbard (UNIS). 

Her research focus will be on the ecology of benthos communities in the Arctic, in both offshore and fjord ecosystems. She combines ecological, chemical, geological and geophysical data to understand connections between the abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems. She has a weakness for chemosynthesis-based animals and plans to explore their role in Arctic food webs as part of her research in the high north.

erin private picture

Photo: Private

Erin E. Thomas worked as a young researcher with the Nansen Legacy project at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Her task was to develop a coupled Atmosphere-Wave forecast model for the European Arctic and Barents Sea and to determine the impact of wave coupling on short-term Arctic forecasts. 

Erin now has a permanent position at MET Norway to continue her efforts toward developing a fully coupled forecast model for the European Arctic. The goal is to further improve short-term Arctic forecast products through better representation of atmosphere, wave, sea ice, sea surface temperature interactions

J. Myrseth Aarflot

Photo: Øyvind Ganesh Eknes

Johanna Myrseth Aarflot was a Nansen Legacy postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Marine Research (IMR). Her task was to develop an individual-based model of the Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis, which is a key grazer and important food for planktivores in the northern Barents Sea ecosystem. 

Johanna now has now a permanent position at IMR in Bergen, where she continues contributing to the Calanus modelling work. In addition, she works on developing an Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) framework for Norwegian coastal ecosystems. The aim is to describe status and trends for the coastal ecosystems and perform risk analyses identifying current and future pressures to these.

privat bilde

Photo: Private

Kirsteen MacKenzie was a Nansen Legacy postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian Polar Institute. Kirsteen used the composition of stable isotopes and fatty acids in ten different marine mammal species around Svalbard – from blue whales to polar bears – to investigate the species’ trophic position and role in the food web.

Kirsteen’s research found very little overlap between the investigated species, suggesting that Arctic marine mammal species are functionally unique. Kirsteen has now a permanent research position in sclerochronology (age and growth in e.g. bones and scales) at Ifremer’s Channel and North Sea Fisheries unit in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, using growth and age analyses with animal chemistry to investigate the life histories of marine animals, particularly fish.

L. Jones

Elizabeth Jones worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in chemical oceanography with the Nansen Legacy project at the Institute of Marine Research in Tromsø.  

Photo: Private

Her research was focused on seasonal changes in carbon and nutrient cycling in the marginal ice zone and biogeochemical cycling in sea ice of the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean (Nansen Basin). Elizabeth now has a permanent researcher position at IMR in Tromsø to continue this work with investigations into the inter-annual variability in carbon and nutrient cycling with implications for ocean acidification and the Arctic marine ecosystem. The aim is to add to the understanding of the intricate coupling between biogeochemical cycling, ice-ocean processes and primary production in a region experiencing warming, sea ice loss and Atlantification.