News archive

Marine heatwaves

Marine heatwaves in the Barents Sea and their ecological implications

In June and July 2022, heatwaves struck Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, as temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius in places. Less known is that heatwaves also occur in the ocean. Like heatwaves on land, marine heatwaves have the potential to devastate ecosystems and cause large economic losses in fisheries, aquaculture, and other marine ecosystem services, calling for an increased focus on and understanding of the occurrence and impact of marine heatwaves.

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Nansen Legacy scientists out in the World

Good science is created by the interplay of different thoughts, work approaches and data. This is why collaboration with scientists around the World is essential for the Nansen Legacy. After years of pandemic and travel restrictions, the project is happy to see that an increasing number of its scientists are now spending time abroad working with scientists from other countries and research fields on Nansen Legacy samples and data.

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Sea-ice retreat beyond the continental shelf – implications for wildlife?

In many Arctic regions, sea ice retreats northwards. This often moves the ice edge zone from relatively shallow waters on the continental shelf to several kilometre deep waters in the central Arctic Ocean. Implications of this displacement for organisms living at the ice edge are largely unknown. Scientists from the Institute of Marine Research have studied harp seals, which’s icy habitat has retreated from shallower to deeper waters north of Svalbard over the last 30 years.

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Could sea ice persist in the Barents Sea in a warmer-than-present world?

Arctic sea-ice plays a pivotal role in the Earth’s climate system and its loss may accelerate the rise of global temperatures. Understanding the future state of sea-ice is therefore a prerequisite for evaluating the development of the World’s climate. Now scientists of Norway’s largest Arctic research project – The Nansen Legacy – have looked into both the past and the future to unravel the question of future sea-ice state in the Arctic.

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Graphical design skills for young scientists

Graphical abstracts, infographics, one-slide posters for digital conferences – the way scientific results are presented nowadays requires increased design and illustration skills. This is why the Nansen Legacy organized a

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First Nansen Legacy PhD successfully defended

The Nansen Legacy is home to over 30 PhD students. On April 22, Elliot Sivel (IMR/UiT) was the first of the Nansen Legacy PhD students to defend his work. The evaluation process included both a trial lecture on modulation of species interactions by environmental and anthropogenic stressors, as well as the dissertation defense presentation entitled ‘Investigating the drivers of the Nordic Seas food-web dynamics using Chance and Necessity modelling’.

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Karoline Barstein, NTNU

My research abroad experience, fostering curiosity

Ever wonder how the ocean reserves as much dissolved organic carbon as atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide? The truth is I do not have the answer to this question. Merely this question is what captivated my interest in this topic. How is it that nature maintains this immense carbon capture system and we still can´t figure out exactly how it functions?

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Fulbright students join Nansen Legacy cruise

Our names are Megan Lenss and Evan Patrohay, and we are joining the most recent Nansen Legacy cruise as US Fulbright Scholars. Fulbright, a program through the United States State Department, has granted us funding to complete yearlong research projects in Norway.

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The Nansen Legacy Winter Gaps Cruise

Since 2018, the Nansen Legacy consortium has successfully completed 16 ship-based expeditions into the Barents Sea. They have provided state-of- the-art new knowledge on Barents Sea physics, chemistry and biology across different seasons and oceanographic regions. This new knowledge achieved is needed to assess potential impacts of a changing marine system and to continue the sustainable use of the rich marine resources like cod, which is part of the key mission for Nansen Legacy.

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CTD on board RV Kronprins Haakon.

Good News from the Data Management

In a big project as Nansen Legacy a lot of samples are collect and even more data are produced. Good data management is therefore highly important. Only when data are archived in a good way, they can be made available to all project participants, shared with other scientists, and preserved for the next generation of researchers.

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Andreas Wolden, HI

Well done so far by the Nansen Legacy

An international panel of experts has assessed the Nansen Legacy project and states in their report that they are very satisfied with the progress and research results midway through the project period.

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cruise in the darkness

Hunting moorings in the dark – fieldwork in the polar night

November at 79 or even 81 N is pretty dark. The sun has disappeared for winter a long time ago, and all that is left is a bit of twilight at noon. For the phytoplankton in the sea that means that there is not enough sunlight to grow. For us, out on a research cruise to service instruments that were deployed north of Svalbard and in the Barents Sea last year or the year before, it means that we struggle to see! Most of the day, it is pitch black dark, especially if it’s new moon as at the start of our cruise. The ship itself is lit up like a Christmas tree with lots of light especially on the work deck in the aft, which often makes seeing anything out at sea very difficult. Light on the bridge is therefore always dimmed and only red light is used when needing a bit more illumination.

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sebastian gerland q1 cruise

Nansen Legacy contributes to major status- and management reports

An important pathway from knowledge to users goes through national and international science synthesis and assessment initiatives where expertise merges and extracts relevant scientific results to address societal needs for knowledge. Nansen Legacy scientists – especially those working in the management institutions among the project partners – have contributed to several national and international status- and management reports on the ocean and climate state in 2021. This ensures a direct transfer of the new knowledge generated by the Nansen Legacy project into assessment reports used for knowledge-based management and policy making in Norway and the World.

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21 years of algae blooms observed from space

Edson Silva just published his first article as part of his institutional PhD project – congratulations! Together with five other co-authors from NERSC and one from the University of Bergen (UiB), he studied the annual cycle of phytoplankton/algae blooms in the Nordic Seas by utilizing satellite data from 2000-2020.

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Nansen Legacy Recruit Forum 2021

The Nansen Legacy is home to more than 70 early career scientists. These young and dynamic researchers are a core element of the project, and present the next generation of Arctic researchers, consultants, policy makers, teachers, communicators, or other resources in society. Hence, the Nansen Legacy thrives to support its early career scientists in forming a strong and supporting network. The annual Nansen Recruit Forum is an essential element in this work.

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Small pieces and large pictures in Arctic marine science

Arctic marine research is really exciting, and one could make blockbuster movies, or a tv-series based on research expeditions, such as those within the Nansen Legacy project. The logistics around planning and executing research cruises when going into the sea ice of the Barents Sea are enormous, but probably not that exciting when thinking about film material. However, simple things such as the safe arrival of our samples in Bergen following the completion of a long cruise are very special to us. Still, when aiming to make an Arctic marine science tv-series one should focus on the research cruises and the samples taken. The different cruises could represent the episodes of the series and the samples that we are taking might well be the characters of the series. I guess everyone agrees that if you want to understand what is going on in the series (the Arctic marine ecosystem) you should not miss out any episodes or only shoot with half of the cast.

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Group picture annual meeting 2021

Finally, we were able to meet again!

Last week in October, the Nansen Legacy was finally able again to host a physical annual meeting. After almost two years with virtual meetings, it was a great pleasure to gather 160 scientists to present and discuss science in person.

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BP6 Fig2_e.jorda-molina

The future of the Arctic – Annual meeting 2021

Marine heatwaves, ecosystems shifting and sea ice melt are just some of the many topics on this Nansen Legacy annual meeting in Trondheim. The Nansen Legacy is now halfway into the 6-year project and are now moving into a phase with more focus on results for all disciplines.

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The box core team in action Photo: Birte Schuppe

Hardcore science

On the JC2-2 cruise we are visiting the deep basins of the Arctic Ocean. The goal of my team is to conduct experiments with animals from the bottom of those basins, which means keeping deep, Arctic animals alive. If deep-sea diving is an extreme sport, then this is definitely extreme science.

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MSS profiling during one of the ice station Photo: Eirik Hellerud

The Arctic Ocean blender system

The Arctic Ocean is composed of different layers organized on the vertical, and these layers have different temperature and salinity properties. A cold and fresh surface layer caps a warm and salty layer of Atlantic Water. The heat contained at depth (about 300m) in the warm and salty Atlantic Water could melt the entire Arctic sea ice cover if it reached the surface. It does not happen because the cold surface layer caps this Atlantic layer quite well and keeps it at depth. However, in some regions, such as north of Svalbard, sea ice melts in summer even though it is -30 outside. How is that possible?

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Ice ridges (Photo: Adam Steer, NPI)

Ephemeral landscapes

Have you ever watched the colors of the sunset over the sea – then suddenly the beautiful moment is gone, and darkness surrounds you. Arctic sea ice is like that

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Longyearbyen Pint of Science 2021

Polar Pint of Science – a success!

After a long period of not being able to meet up and be together, people welcomed the possibilities to aquire knowledge and attend as an audience at a social event at their local pub. In four cities, 16 speakers participated with lectures about their research work in the Arctic Ocean.

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RV Kronprins Haakon is breaking ice with sediments in the Transpolar drift current (Agneta Fransson, NPI)

The Transpolar Drift current – the largest Arctic river – transports materials into the central Arctic Ocean from Siberian Shelf across the North Pole

We passed latitude 87°N in the central Arctic Ocean onboard the RV Kronprins Haakon, not far from the Lomonosov Ridge and only 300 km from the North Pole, hoping to find traces of Siberian Shelf and river water in the Transpolar Drift current. We are sailing against the current, going northward from the Nansen Basin, north of Svalbard into the Amundsen Basin in the search for this specific water or sea ice transported in this current.

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Seawater seen under the microscope with 1000 times magnification – bright blobs are bacteria and the tiny dots are viruses. There are roughly one billion bacteria and ten times more viruses in 1 liter of seawater

The tiniest do the heavy lifting – Who are they and what do microbes do in the Arctic Ocean?

A microbe? That’s an organism whose body is made of a single cell. Some microbes like bacteria are cells that look completely different from our own body cells, whereas others are built just like our own cells are. The biodiversity in microbes is staggering. Almost all of the genetic diversity we find on Earth is encoded in microbes and their appearance can be as different as worms and elephants! Microbes are everywhere. If you could miraculously remove all other organisms on Earth and at the same time make the microbes become visible with your naked eye, you would still see the contours and whereabouts of all the plants and animals and landscape around them! In the ocean alone, there are a million times more microbes than stars in the entire universe!

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Trawling at 85 d N - 3 Bluhm

The Central Arctic Ocean: No longer the once forgotten no man’s land

Large trawlers are pulling tons of fish out of the deep Central Arctic Ocean. Our cell phones are powered with rare earth elements from the seafloor underneath the North Pole. The ice-free Arctic allows much shorter delivery time of shipped goods from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Coast guard ships dot the vast Arctic coastline and fleets of submarines survey the chilly waters. Will these scenarios soon be a reality? To some extent some of them already are.

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Sampling. Christain Morel/ Nansen Legacy

Will the future Arctic Ocean become greener?

On land grass and other plants provide ecosystems with food and play an essential role in binding CO2 from the atmosphere. Microscopically small plants called algae fulfill this role in the world’s oceans. As plants on land, these tiny algae depend on nutrients and sunlight for growth. Rising global temperatures have led to sea ice melt in polar seas, allowing more light to reach the algae in the seawater. Still researchers are unsure if sea ice melt will give a greener Arctic Ocean, supporting more marine life and increased fisheries.

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(Cooking pot lid not to scale)

Cracks in the cooking pot lid

The point of putting a lid on a cooking pot is to prevent the transfer of heat and moisture between the boiling contents and the air above. When you remove the lid from a boiling pot, heat and water vapour flow upward into the air, along with chemical compounds filling your kitchen with the (hopefully) promising smells of an upcoming meal.

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Where food is delivered only once a year

Imagine living at a place where food is available for only a few short weeks each year. What sounds impossible is reality for hundreds of different animal species thousands of meters beneath the ocean surface.

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Khoung_Amalie Marie B Gravelle_UiO

Nansen Legacy post-doctoral fellow received prestigious stipend

Earlier this summer Nansen Legacy post doctoral fellow Khuong Dinh from the University of Oslo received the prestigious Young Research Talent grant from the Research Council of Norway. The Young Research Talent grant is highly competitive and is a 3 year researcher project for scientific renewal.

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