Collaboration in the eastern Barents Sea

Paul Renaud

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As the Nansen Legacy strives to understand the changing marine ecosystem of the northern Barents Sea, we acknowledge a significant challenge in gaining access to the eastern Barents Sea. Fortunately, Nansen Legacy partners have a strong history of collaboration with Russian marine research institutions. This provides access to both sampling platforms and a wealth of experience. Russian researchers have been sampling the eastern Barents Sea for well over a hundred years, and their knowledge of the system is extensive. The Nansen Legacy therefore highly values the collaboration with the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute (MMBI) for sampling the eastern Barents Sea and the exchange of ecosystem knowledge.

In spring 2018, the Nansen Legacy took part in an MMBI cruise to the central and western Barents Sea where we extended a benthic time series, which now has more than 20 years of data across the Polar Front. Our Russian colleagues from MMBI and the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have provided excellent support throughout the work on this unique data set. Results will be published by the end of 2021.

In October 2019, a Nansen Legacy researcher joined a cruise led by MMBI to the northeastern Barents Sea, and sampled sediments, zooplankton, fish and seawater for the project. This allowed valuable complementary spatial coverage, broadening the regional perspective of questions raised and data gathered in the Nansen Legacy. Russian scientists will contribute to some of the work coming from these samples.