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No light, no light...

No light, no light...

ArcticPRIZE cruise video by SAMS' Andy Crabb

New fast paced video out, featuring the ArcticPRIZE team, Helmer Hanssen and music by Florence and the machine!

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.

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The Arctic Polar night seen from an Antarctic expert

Studies carried out on a wide variety of Arctic species during the polar night reveal continued feeding, growth and reproduction, changing our view of this period from one of biological stasis to a time of continued high activity levels. Prof Geraint Tarling from the British Antarctic Survey use his experience as a polar researcher to place the recent findings from the polar night (Berge et al 2015 in Current Biology) in a wider context. Download the Tarling 2015 paper here.

CLEOPATRA II - project came to an end

CLEOPATRA II: Climate effects on planktonic food quality and trophic transfer in Arctic Marginal Ice Zones II ended officially 1 of July 2015.

This highly international 3-year project has so far resulted in one completed PhD thesis and 3 completed master theses. At present eight papers are published, two articles are in review, and 8 manuscripts are in progress. In addition, project results have been presented at several national and international meetings and conferences (34 presentations in all) and the project has been highly visible in media with a number of popular science articles, videos and blogs. The latest in  Science and Technology. For an overview of publications and outreach see this section.


BBC and the “dead fish”…

Screenshot: Atlantic cod decomposition
Screenshot: Atlantic cod decomposition
The time-lapse video that was made during the Marine Night campaign this last winter  was included also as a supplementary material in latest paper on activity of organisms during polar night. Until last week, this video lived a quite and rather anonymous life on YouTube, where just a little bit more than 2000 people had watched it. But that was until our paper was highlighted by the BBC New last week. Following this exposure, the video was posted on the BBC Science News Facebook, and within just a few days more than 3 million people had watched the wonders of the polar night. And the number is still growing (although, currently, not that rapidly), translated into Turkish, Russian and Arabic and placed in their YT channels, shared 8000+ times and got very interesting comments including the ones concerning politics, religion or even water on Mars... Probably one of the best  (it got also the greatest number of answers), was the question: “Why did the snake lie in the same position for 2 days ?” ...and maybe “But, is the fish ok?”  All this created so much noise that e-mails started to show up and Thomson-Reuters and want to use this video…

More of videos shot during fieldwork, also in comparison with summer can be found here. Have a look also on the website which Piotr is just about to finish:

More mentions of the paper and/or the video:


Liv og lys i mulm og mørke / Life and light at the dead of night

Public talks in Polar Museum. Photo: J. Berge
Public talks in Polar Museum. Photo: J. Berge
More than 90 people showed up for the public lectures and guided tour around the polar night exhibition that was arranged at the Polarmuseet in Tromsø last Wednesday. The event was a coordinated event between Arktisk Forening and the Polarmuseet, and marked the last week of the polar night exhibition in Tromsø. It also coincided with the publication of a major paper from the Marine Night team - (Unexpected Levels of Biological Activity during the Polar Night Offer New Perspectives on a Warming Arctic) published in Current Biology. Both events attracted lots of attention in the media, locally (iTromsø) for the exhibition and internationally for the paper (BBC news). The paper once and for all marks the death of the old myth of biological quiescence during the polar night! 

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.


Mare upcoming events

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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.