Mare Incognitum - mission statement

‘Mare Incognitum’ is the umbrella for several research projects exploring one of the least known marine ecosystems of the planet – the Arctic. We are situated in the Arctic and have the unique opportunity to study this exceptional marine system year round, including the Polar Night.


Mission statements of the Mare Incognitum projects


The Arctic ABC programme, consisting of four projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council, Tromsø Forskningsstifelse and UiT The Arctic University of Norway, has as its main goal to develop and deploy autonomous ice-tethered platforms in the Arctic Ocean. The platforms shall be fully autonomous, with data transferred by satellite. The first full deployment of our platforms will be carried out during 2019.    



Since 2002, SAMS, UiT and UNIS have operated moored observatories in two fjords on Svalbard; Kongsfjorden and Rijpfjorden (since 2006). The Kongsfjord observatory is incorporated into the SIOS observing system, and has status as national research infrastructure operated by UiT until 2027. The Rijpfjorden observatory is operated by UiT on a year-to-year basis, but it is our status ambition to keep it running as long as we operate the Kongsfjorden observatory. All data from the observatories will be freely available through a data visualisation and selection portal.


Cleopatra II logoCleopatra II

We aim to obtain a better knowledge of Arctic zooplankton physiology and life history strategies to predict the degree of match/mismatch of key biological processes at the base of the Arctic marine food web in a changing Arctic.



Diel Vertical Migration of zooplankton is the largest synchronised movement of biomass on the planet, and is a process generally steered by the diel change solar illumination. In the Arctic, with its unique light climate, this process have recently been shown to be ongoing during both the polar day and solar night. In this project we aim at unravelling the controlling factors behind vertical migration of zooplankton as well as its ecological significance.


MicroFun makes use of recent advances in molecular technologies to investigate the diversity and function of Svalbards microbial eurayotic organisms. The project is aimed and UNIS and combines both marine and terrestrial research and researchers.


Marine Night logoMarine Night

One of the most important misconceptions concerning Arctic marine ecosystems is the widely held assumption that the dark polar night is best compared with a biological dessert void of any activity. We aim at exploring the Arctic marine ecosystem beyond the boundaries of darkness, focusing both on pelagic, sympagic and benthic organisms.


Ctenophores are an important component of the pelagic community often neglected in zooplankton research, leading to grossly oversimplified and misunderstood understanding on their diversity and ecological role, as well as biased views of ecosystem functioning. We aim to obtain a better knowledge of the biodiversity of marine ctenophores in Norway, from North Sea to the High Arctic.


GrønBille is dedicated to analyse long-term data on variability, patterns and trends in the physical environment affecting the timing of blooms in Billefjorden and Grønnfjorden

SpitsEco logoSpitsEco

The main objective of this project is to study the timing of life history events of a key fish species Leptoclinus maculatus. During this project, we will aim specifically at a fish known to be of high importance as prey for seabirds and larger fish, while at the same time being a species for which we know surprisingly little regarding its life history. The project will first of all aim at elucidating the seasonal dynamics and timing of reproduction, and we will relate our findings towards the environmental background data obtained from the two ongoing ocean observatories in Kongsfjorden an Rijpfjorden.


Big Black Box

Big Black box has two main aims - to establish a synergetic cooperation between leading Norwegian and American research environments to ensure up to date and innovative science and education of today and tomorrows Arctic scientists and to establish new innovative molecular tools to identify and quantify the diet of arctic zooplankton.











The Mare Incognitum projects are members of the ARCTOS research network

The Mare Incognitum web pages are maintained by Marine Night technician Daniel Vogedes, UiT.

The content is provided by the projects, for comments please check the project pages and contact the project leader.