In January 2014 we are starting the first ever course in underwater robotics and polar night biology. We had an overwhelming response for the course, and we decided to increase the number of students in order to accommodate as many applicants as possible. In the end, we landed on a maximum number of 21 places - all of which are now filled. The course starts on Monday January the 6th with lectures and a safety course on Tuesday 7th. Then, in conjunction with Marine Night and Circa, we will host a joint field campaign in Kongsfjorden and Ny-Ålesund 13-27th of January. As part of this campaign, we will have access to UiT’s RV Helmer Hanssen during the first week, and the Longyearbyen-based vessel MS Ulla Rinmann during the second week. As part of the course, we are also bringing with us a lot of fun toys and gadgets…!
The main objective of the course and overarching research question for the course is "What is the ecological significance of bioluminescence in the polar night?”. In order to answer this, we will divide our attention towards four secondary objectives, each of which will be a separate student project (the students are all being divided into four groups, one working on each secondary objective):
1. Map (temporal and spatial) distribution of bioluminescence in situ
2. Characterize (spectral and intensity) the biolum signal in situ and in vivo
3. Seafloor mapping (distribution of benthic organisms including both bioluminescent and biolum-detecting species)
4. Who can detect bioluminescence?
All four secondary objectives are to be aimed so that they include both a technological and a biological question / task. The first include the use of AUV (Remus 100) fitted with a U-Bat (bathyphotometer for bioluminescence measurements), the second controlled detection and characterisation of bioluminescence using a Hyperspectral Imager (HI, borrowed from Ecotone) on a ROV (SeaBotics LBV 204), the third include both spatial (mapping) and temporal (time series) surveys, while the forth include implementation of the HI in lab and on living organisms. The course is to run in parallel with ongoing research projects (Circa, Marine Night, MicroFun and Cleopatra II), and with a scientific focus that is complementary to these.
The curriculum for the course will be made up of state-of-the-art scientific papers and lectures. The curriculum will be updated by the start of the course, but the following five parts will be at the core of the course:
Berge et al (submitted) - In the dark: paradigms of Arctic ecosystems during polar night challenged by new understanding. PDF requires password (course participants only)