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Not only biology

Not only biology

ArcticABC researchers Njord Wegge and Kathrin Stephen return to the roots of geopolitical reasoning

Photo: Jakob Østheim/Forsvaret

Gliders, waves and the wild Arctic Ocean

Gliders, waves and the wild Arctic Ocean

All over the place!

ABC, SIZE and PRIZE join forces on the Helmer Hanssen

"Thaw" - a short doc in 3 episodes featuring the Polar Night cruise

"Thaw" - a short doc in 3 episodes featuring the Polar Night cruise

Follow the team into the dark!

Eli Kintisch who joined the Polar Night cruise in January 2018 has published three episodes on climate change, featuring UiT and SAMS researchers

Polar Night exhibition heads East

Polar Night exhibition heads East

Now also in Russian: Polar Night around the globe!

Recently the Polar Night exhibition moved yet again. This time to Moscow, Russia.

Dark times ahead

Dark times ahead

While other escape to the South, we head North - again!

Once again an expedition beyond daylight is in preparation. Meanwhile, new findings from earlier expeditions have seen the light of day.

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ArcticABC in the BBC news

Following the combined CircA - Marine Night - Arctic ABC meeting in Oban in May, a news story appeared in the BBC news based on the exciting and strong collaboration between The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and Norwegian partners. Together with the FAABolous project lead by Dr E. Leu at APN, the story focus on the start of our two new projects and the role of SAMS as a key partner. You can find the news article here and the radio programme here (starting at approx. 16:45)


CircA, Marine Night & ArcticABC meeting in Oban

The Arctic Oban group. Photo: Euan Paterson (SAMS)
The Arctic Oban group. Photo: Euan Paterson (SAMS)
For one week, from 1-5th of June 2015 the three ARCTOS and Mare Incognitum projects CircA, Marine Night and Arctic ABC hosted a meeting at SAMS. For CircA, this is the last project meeting, as we are now well within our final year. The meeting was therefore primarily aimed at writing up papers. For Maine Night, the meeting is a midterm meeting that marks the transition from a field campaign phase to a writing phase. The main aim during the meeting was to inform each other as to where we are following the two large field campaigns that have been hosted in Kongsfjorden January 2014 and 2015, and to prepare a plan for writing up papers. For Arctic ABC, this was a kick-off meeting during which we discussed and planned the ice tethered observatories. For an overview of talks and presentations, please see the "Oban meeting presentations" section in the outreach tab. A meeting summary can be found here.

The polar night exhibition on tour in USA and Norway!


Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff
Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff
The polar night exhibition  is now open for public in both Tromsø and Anchorage (Alaska). Since the exhibition opened in Tromsø, a replica (of a reduced part of the exhibition) has been produced which went on tour in the US. From 8-10 May the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington arranged the Arcic Spring Festival. The festival had a range of stations where the audience could learn about science, culture and management in Arctic. Lena Aarekol of the Polar Museum Tromsø presented the Polar Night exhibition during the festival. Some days later HMK Harald V opened the exhibition on May 26th, in the Anchorage Museum. Lena Aarekol (Polarmuseet), Geir Johnsen (NTNU) and Jørgen Berge (UiT) had the pleasure of giving the king a guided tour around the exhibition that will stay open to the public until October 2015. In Norway, the exhibition is set to be displayed in both Svalbard Museum (spring 2016) and Vitenskapsmuseet in Trondheim (2017).
Lena Aarekol presenting Polar Night at Smithsonian
Lena Aarekol presenting Polar Night at Smithsonian

1st of April came early this year

Eclipse seen from Adventfjorden. Photo: Jørgen Berge
Eclipse seen from Adventfjorden. Photo: Jørgen Berge
Billions were fooled by nature’s early 1st of April joke this year. During a field campaign on Svalbard in March this year, we studied how marine zooplankton responded to the total solar eclipse that occurred around noon on the 20th of March. Would they react to the declining light and be fooled into believing that it was night, or are their internal clocks so strong that they would not be bothered about nature’s little prank? To cut a long story short - they were fooled! In their billions!

Diel vertical migration (DVM) of zooplankton is a characteristic feature of the world’s oceans and lakes, and has been claimed to be the largest synchronized movement of biomass on the planet. Since the phenomenon was first detected almost two centuries ago (in 1817), there have been numerous studies into both the adaptive significance of this behaviour and its ecosystem consequence.  A migration of animals to the surface layer at night allows zooplankton to feed in food-rich waters with reduced likelihood of detection by visual predators (predator-avoidance hypothesis), whereas during daytime they seek refuge in the darkness of the deep. The period around equinox, when the day and night are equally long are known to be a peak period for this type of migration, as it holds a significant advantage to each individual to be able to hide away down in the deep during the bright day and to migrate up in the surface waters during the night to feed on the many small algae and smaller zooplankton that live there. Predators in the pelagic generally use two main feeding modes; they either search for prey using vision (visual predators, e.g. many fish, birds and large zooplankton) or they search for prey by sensing vibrations and movements (tactile predators, many zooplankton). As a result, the prey encounter of visually searching predators is tightly bound to the light regime and prey encounter will be a function of day and night, time of the year and latitude. The extreme seasonality of high latitudes, including the polar night, creates a unique research laboratory for our endeavours to understand the relative roles of different prey encounter modes and for the functioning and constraints of visual predators in the north. To read more about the results, see these recent articles (Norwegian/Icelandic) , or wait for the story to appear in a scientific journal or other media soon..!

See an amazing video of the eclipse by Witek Kaszkin from the Polish polar station at Hornsund:

Blue mussels à la Svalbard on the menu?

Back when the Vikings ruled, blue mussels had a natural habitat in Svalbard. They disappeared when the climate cooled, but today blue mussels have re-established themselves at 78 degrees North. The Svalbard blue mussel is thus a clear and present climate indicator of a warming Arctic. The reappearence of the blue mussels is in the focus of the Marine Night PhD student Peter Leopold. At several occasions the topic has been in the media recently:


An unexpected guest

In the autumn of 2013 an unexpected guest appeared on Svalbard - it came into Isfjorden in august, and pleased many locals with it presence during a very short autumn visit. Already from the middle of September it seemed to have left. But by that time, its presence had already been noted by Svalbardposten and was about to be discussed both in Nordlys and Bladet Fiskaren. The discovery in Isfjorden represent the by far most northern observation ever - more than 5 degrees latitude north of its previous northernmost documented observation. Despite intensive search, it appears not to have been back since. Who are we talking about - the Atlantic mackerel!

The findings resulted in some buzz in the newspapers (Svalbardposten, Fiskeribladet Fiskaren, Nordlys, Nordlys again, Aftenposten) and just recently in a scientific publication in the journal "Arctic".


Outreach in the aftermath of Marine Night 2015

After another successful Marine Night campaign in Ny-Ålesund concluded, the nightly activities were brought to a wider public by national and international outreach activities. Check out the following links to learn more. A complete list, also of earlier publications, can be found on the project page.

Nordlys (print): "Venter på å bli oppdaget" (Norwegian)

UiT news  (online): “Et sort hull fullt av liv” (Norwegian)

NRK viten (online): «Dette trodde forskerne aldri de skulle finne» (Norwegian)

Ny Teknik (print): «Expeditionen jagar Arktis okända liv“ (Swedish)

Svalbardposten (print): «På limpinnen!» (Norwegian)

UiT news (online): «Limt fast på Svalbard!» (Norwegian)

UiT news (online): "Polarnatt til USA" (Norwegian)

DW (radio): «Marine life in the polar night» (English)

The News Journal (print): “Polar Opposites” (English)

NBC news (TV): “Delaware at the poles” (English)

NRK (radio): "Norgesglasset - Under vann i polarnatta" (Norwegian)

NRK (radio): Morra i NRK P1 (Norwegian)

NRK (radio): "Liv i polarnatta" (Norwegian, mp3)

Le Monde: "Aux portes de l'Arctique" (French/English illustrated story & Audio)

Polar Museum (exhibition): "Life and light in the dead of night" (English / Norwegian)

Polar Museum (print): "Life and light in the dead of night" (English / Norwegian)'

Anchorage Musem (exhibition): "Polar night - Life and light in the dead of night" (English)

Utenriksdepartementet (Ministry of foreign affairs): "Polarnatt til USA" (Norwegian)


The Polar Night exhibition will also go on an international tour in the near future. In May parts of the exhibition will be shown during a festival at the Smithsonian Institution's National History Museum in Washington and Anchorage, USA.

In addition to these outreach activities, there has also a special issue of the scientic journal "Polar Biology" been published. All articles therein are available as open access.


Marine night exhibition in Tromsø

Polar Night exhibition
Polar Night exhibition
Life and light in the polar night is the title of an exhitibition inspired by the projects Marine Night, CircA and others. The exhibition in the Polar Museum in Tromsø opened on Jan 18th. You can find an online exhibition catalogue in English here and in Norwegian here. The flyer from the exhibition opening can be found here.

Soon the exhibition will also be shown in the USA, at the Anchorage Museum and in part at the Smithsonian. More details soon!

New member of the Mare Incognitum family

ArcticABC autonomous observatory
ArcticABC autonomous observatory
From early 2015, a new project will be initiated within the mare Incognitum family. Not only is it a new project, it is the largest project so far of all Mre Incognitum projects with a total budget of 50 million NOK.  

This innovative and challenging research project is spearheaded by the development of new autonomous underwater technology, with the primary goal of determining the ecosystem consequences of the ongoing reduction in the Arctic sea ice. The project is based on three tightly-linked core modules: The applied technology module focuses on data acquisition and autonomous observations in areas and habitats yet to be systematically and scientifically explored. Specifically, we will develop an under-ice-tethered observatory (see picture) with real-time data transmission to be deployed for a full year in the Central Arctic Ocean. The biological interactions module focuses on coupling processes between the sea-ice and the ocean, aimed at answering the fundamental question of whether species composition and production regimes in Arctic marine ecosystems will be permanently altered following a continued reduction of the Arctic ice cover. The consequences module will explore and forecast possible consequences of reduced ice cover at increasing levels of complexity, ranging from individuals to populations up to the entire ecosystem and society at large and geopolitics. The project focuses on method development, technology adaption to an extreme operating environment, consequences for the deep central Arctic Ocean ecosystem of climate change, and on building a cross-disciplinary nationally and internationally coordinated consortium bridging technology and life sciences.

Arctic ABC in  Nordlys (Norwegian), information from NRC about the results of the call: NRC (Norwegian).

Marine Night seminar for Kings Bay with first results

Northern light - Photo J.S. Haugelid
Northern light - Photo J.S. Haugelid
 The Marine Night project was invited to give one of three presentations at this year's Kings Bay juleseminar (Christmas seminary). On behalf of the project, Eva Leu presented first results of our 2014 winter campaign in Kongsfjorden in January 2014. As this has been the by far largest research activity ever carried out in Ny-Ålesund in the middle of wintertime, it was a very special experience – not only for us, but also for the people working there. We had gotten fantastic support this year, and I was informed that the window front in the Marine Lab has already been covered again with two layers of rubbish bags for our coming January campaign. The audience was very interested to hear results about the high levels of biological activities we had observed, and were impressed by the strong national and international collaboration network, interdisciplinarity, and involvement of students in our project. You can find the presentation, with some of the preliminary Marine Night 2014 results here (PDF).


Marine Night technician Daniel Vogedes defended PhD

ODaniel Vogedes defencen 19th November 2014, Marine Night technician and Mare Incognitum webmaster Daniel Vogedes successfully defended his PhD thesis at UNIS (Svalbard). The title of the thesis is: Calanus spp. in t he Arctic ecosystem - a story on predation, distribution and methodology. The thesis consists of six published papers and a summary (listed in order of appearance in thesis):

  1. Synthesis (PDF) - print version or full PDF on request
  2. Gabrielsen T, Merkel B, Søreide J, Johansson-Karlsson E, Bailey A, Vogedes D, Nygård H, Varpe Ø, Berge J (2012) Potential misidentification of two climate indicator species of the marine arctic ecosystem: Calanus glacialis and C. finmarchicus. Polar Biol 35:1621-1628.
  3. Steen H, Vogedes D, Broms F, Falk-Petersen S, Berge J (2007) Little auks (Alle alle) breeding in a high Arctic fjord system: bimodal foraging strategies as a response to poor food quality? Polar Res 26:118-125.
  4. Vogedes D, Eiane K, Båtnes AS, Berge J (2014) Variability in Calanus spp. abundance on fine- to mesoscales in an Arctic fjord: implications for little auk feeding. Mar Biol Res 10:437-448.
  5. Vogedes D, Varpe Ø, Søreide J, Graeve M, Berge J, Falk-Petersen S (2010) Lipid sac area as a proxy for individual lipid content of arctic calanoid copepods. J Plankton Res 32:1471-1477.
  6. Daase M, Eiane K, Aksnes DL, Vogedes D (2008) Vertical distribution of Calanus spp. and Metridia longa at four Arctic locations. Mar Biol Res 4:193-207. http://Thesis title page Vogedes
  7. Berge J, Cottier F, Last KS, Varpe Ø, Leu E, Søreide J, Eiane K, Falk-Petersen S, Willis K, Nygard H, Vogedes D, Griffith C, Johnsen G, Lorentzen D, Brierley AS (2009) Diel vertical migration of Arctic zooplankton during the polar night. Biology Letters 5:69-72.


Mare upcoming events


12.07.2018 14:00 - 15:00

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.