ArcticABC logo




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.

Congratulations Dr. Hobbs!

Congratulations Dr. Hobbs!

An award winning Dr. of the CircA project in Mare Incognitum

Dr. Laura Hobbs receives award for Postgraduate of the Year 2016 by UHI

New monster from the deep

New monster from the deep

Archeologists fear it, biologists love it

First record of a shipworm in Arctic waters

Werewolves! Here is the published proof!

Werewolves! Here is the published proof!

Beyond any doubt: Werewolves migrate

Finally the proof for werewolf activities has been published in Current Biology!

Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2012 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

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 Incognitum at the Arctic Change conference in Ottawa (Canada)

Arctos researchers were very well represented at the recent Arctic Change conference in Ottawa (Canada). In total, the conference gathers more than 1300 people, with Norway being the third largest delegation behind Germany and USA. Arctos were represented by one plenary keynote speaker in the opening session (Professor P Wassmann), and two scientific sessions. The conference was hosted by ArcticNet, a network of excellence with whom Arctos has very close ties. One of the scientific sessions were focused on the polar night and the research carried out within four Mare Incognitum projects; Circa, Marine Night, Cleopatra 2 and SpitsEco. A total of six talks were given in this session (PDFs of the talks below):
Ottawa Polar Night session


Kim S. Last: Werewolves in the dark - moonlight structures Arctic zooplankton communities in space and time during the polar night (PDF)
Finlo Cottier: Winter vertical migration across the Arctic: Seeking the pan-Arctic view (PDF)
John Cohen: There is light in the dark: Bioluminescence in the high Arctic polar night (PDF)
Jørgen Berge: In the dark: paradigms of Arctic ecosystems during polar night challenged by new understanding (PDF)
Maline Daase: How much for the night? - Energetic costs of overwintering for the Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis (PDF)

Big Black Box Workshop in Tromsø 19 and 20 January

BBB logoMarine ecological processes during the polar nightwhat do we know and how to proceed?

UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Campus Tromsø, 19th – 20th January 2015

The extended period of Arctic darkness, known as the polar night, may limit organism survival and reproductive success because of the associated food limitation.  Even if the polar night only exist for +/-4 months, depending on latitude, Arctic marine environments may experience complete darkness for up to ten months because of extensive sea ice and snow conditions. A long overwintering period and a brief growing season are likely the main barriers for “temperate/lower latitude” species to keep sustainable populations in the Arctic. The temperate species lack the life history adaptations of high-Arctic species that allow them to cope with such extreme seasonality. However, our knowledge on winter ecology is extremely poor in comparison to ecological processes during the productive summer season. Gathering additional information on polar night ecology and processes is crucial, especially in light of expected impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems.  We therefore invite you to this Big Black Box workshop to convene an international group of experts to

1) develop one white paper summarizing existing knowledge on winter ecology in the Arctic

2) identify the most critical knowledge-gaps

3) discuss a new international initiative/program focusing on polar night ecology

Deadline for travel funding 16 December 2014

Deadline for signing up 6 January 2015

Information and invitation: PDF

Application for funding: PDF

Cleopatra II & COPPY project meeting @ AWI

Group picture AWI meeting
Group picture AWI meeting

End of November German, Russian and Norwegian scientists and students involved in the projects CLEOPATRA II and COPPY met at Alfred Wegener Institute to discuss project results and publications. Project leader Janne E. Søreide (UNIS) gave also a lecture on stable isotope and fatty acid trophic markers at the weekly AWI colloquium with title:  

Sympagic-pelagic-benthic coupling in Arctic marine ecosystems revealed by stable isotopic and fatty acid tracers

(for the talk see this PDF).

Report from the dark side

Aftenposten Viten

The deep ocean and the darkness carry secrets, and they may bring fear for many. What, and who, hides in the dark, cold and deep ocean? The Arctic polar night has for a long time been almost inaccessible - and it is still not an easy place to carry out research. Not only has it remained inaccessible, the scientific literature has generally dismissed the ocean during the polar night as a marine desert. No light - no life. We have generally assumed that the organisms shut down and remain inactive in wait of the spring. Until now. In January, a new exhibition in the Polar museum (Polarmuseet) in Tromsø will have this topic as the main theme. In the meantime you can find out more in a recently published outreach article in Aftenposten (Norwegian only).

Mare upcoming events

No events found

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.