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The project, Arctic and Alpine Stream Ecosystem Research (AASER), started within EU’s Climate & Environment Programme and now continues with national funding, primarily Norway, Italy and Austria. The objective is to study dynamics and processes in rivers systems in Arctic and Alpine regions. Emphasis is given to the relationships between benthic invertebrates and environmental variables, especially in glacier-fed systems and in relation to climate change scenarios. On Svalbard research is concentrated around Ny Ålesund, particularly Bayelva and Londonelva. In 2004 the focus will be on the use to stable isotopes to detect transfer processes within and between ecosystems.
The IPY-project ‘COPOL’ has a main objective of understanding the dynamic range of man-made contaminants in marine ecosystems of polar regions, in order to better predict how possible future climate change will be reflected in levels and effects at higher trophic levels. This aim will be addressed by 4 integrated work packages covering the scopes of 1) food web contaminant exposure and flux, 2) transfer to higher trophic levels and potential effects, 3) chemical analyses and screening, 4) synthesis and integration. To study the relations between climate and environmental contaminants within a project period of four years, a “location-substitutes-time”-approach will be employed. The sampling is focussed towards specific areas in the Arctic, representing different climatic conditions. Two areas that are influenced differently by different water masses are chosen; the Kongsfjord on the West-coast of Spitzbergen (79N, 12 E) and the Rijpfjord North-East of Svalbard (80N, 22 E). The main effort is concentrated in the Kongsfjord. This fjord has been identified as particularly suitable as a study site of contaminants processes, due to the remoteness of sources, and for influences of climatic changes, due to the documented relation between Atlantic water influx and the climatic index North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The water masses of the Rijpfjord have Arctic origin and serves as a strictly Arctic reference. Variable Atlantic water influx will not only influence abiotic contaminant exposure, but also food web structure, food quality and energy pathways, as different water masses carry different phyto- and zooplankton assemblages. This may affect the flux of contaminants through the food web to high trophic level predators such as seabirds and seals, due to altered food quality and energy pathways.
Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.
Radioactivity in the Arctic environment is a central topic within environmental pollution issues. Increased discharges of technetium-99 (99Tc) from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Sellafield to the Irish Sea has caused public concerns in Norway. This project (acronym “RADNOR”) includes model and monitoring assessments and improvements, assessment of current and novel abiotic and biotic dose parameters and dose calculations and use of realistic climatic background scenarios in order to assess corresponding consequences for transport of radioactive pollutants. RADNOR consists of three main components: part 1, the determination of levels and time series of 99Tc in benthic and pelagic food webs; part 2, containing working packages on improvements to the understanding of site-specific and time-dependent sediment-water interactions (KD), kinetics of accumulation (CF) and body distribution in marine organisms, including contaminated products for the alginate industry and part 3, dealing with model hindcasts and observations for spreading of 99Tc from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant during the 1990s and improvement of the NRPA dose assessment box model. From the model outputs, doses to man and environment will be calculated resulting in a valuable database for use within environmental management and for decision makers.
To monitor levels of pollutants in merlin by analysis of POPs and heavy metals in eggs and feathers. /Feathers and addled eggs of merlin were collected in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999 and 2000 for chemical analysis of POPs and heavy metals. Comparisons with eggs from museum collections show that there has been a significant shell thinning in eggs of Norwegian merlins. From 1947 up to 1990 the eggs were on average ca. 15% thinner than normal and after 1990 the thinning has been ca. 10%. There are still high concentrations of DDE to reduce reproductive output in some cases. The PCB levels are low compared to the DDE levels and the concentrations of other chlorinated hydrocarbons are also low. Results from mercury analyses indicate possible effects on breeding performance in some adults.
The aim of the project is to monitor forest health in the border areas between Norway and Russia. The impact on the forest ecosystems in the border areas is varying. In the areas close to the nickel smelter (in Nikel), the damage is serious, while the damage on the Norwegian areas are much less. Here the damage is mostly related to lack of lichen vegetation on birch stems. The moss vegetation in the bottom layer is also influenced. In some cases, when certain weather conditions fell together with high emissions of sulphur dioxide, visible damage has been developed on leaves of shrubs and trees, even on Norwegian territory. Even the emission normally does not cause visible damage on Norwegian territory; chemical influenced is traced over large Norwegian areas
The aim of the project Intensive monitoring of forest ecosystem in an air pollution gradient from Nikel and westwards, running in the period 1994-1998/99, has been to develop and perform environmental monitoring in the border areas between Norway and Russia. The project is a contribution to the joint Norwegian/Russian Environmental Co-operation. Russian scientists have established and performed analyses at four monitoring sites in Russia, while Norwegian scientists have done similar monitoring at adjacent Norwegian areas. The scientists have worked together in two workshops and in the field. The collaboration has been efficient carried out by extensive use of e-mail. An important result for of the project has been harmonised field methodology, which has been put into practice by means of common fieldwork. The impact on the forest ecosystems in the border areas is varying. In the areas close to the nickel smelter (in Nikel), the damage is serious, while the damage on the Norwegian areas are much less. Here the damage is mostly related to lack of lichen vegetation on birch stems. The moss vegetation in the bottom layer is also influenced. In some cases, when certain weather conditions fell together with high emissions of sulphur dioxide, visible damage has been developed on leaves of shrubs and trees, even on Norwegian territory. Even the emission normally does not cause visible damage on Norwegian territory; chemical influenced is traced over large Norwegian areas
Due to the high organochlorine concentrations reported in Arctic top predators, and the potential transport of contaminants with the drifting sea-ice in the Arctic, organisms constituting lower trophic levels living in association with sea-ice have been proposed as susceptible of uptake of high loads of organic pollutants. The present project studies the organochlorine occurrence in organisms living in the marginal ice zone north of Svalbard and in the Fram Strait. This includes both ice fauna (ice-amphipods), zooplankton, polar cod and different seabird species foraging in the marginal ice zone. Our objectives are to investigate: *The bioaccumulation of organochlorines in ice-associated amphipods in relation to diet preference, spatial variation due to sea ice drift route, size, sampling year, uptake and distribution within the body. *Comparison of organochlorine contamination in pelagic and ice-associated organisms at the similar trophic position, to investigate the effect of sea ice as a transporter and concentrator of pollutants. *Spatial variation in zooplankton species, related to differences in water masses and exposure to first year or multi year sea ice. *The contamination load in different seabirds feeding in the marginal ice zone, in relation to diet choice and estimated trophic position, taxonomically closeness and the induction of hepatic CYP P450 enzymes.
Monitoring of zooplankton in the Barents Sea with sections and area coverages.
The aim of the project is to detrmine the content of organic contaminants in sea ice (including dirty ice), sea water (particulate and dissolved), snow, ice algae and phytoplankton collected in the marginal ice zone of the Barents Sea and in Fram Strait, and to calculate bioconcentration factors from the abiotic compartments to the lowest trophic levels of the food chain. Silicate measurements were included in the Fram Strait as water mass tracer. The Barents Sea represents an area influence mainly by first year ice with sea ice formed in the area and or in the Kara Sea, and and strongly influenced by the inflowing two branches of water of Atlantic origin. Samples were collected on a transect along the ice edge and at two transects into the ice. The stations across the Fram Strait were taken in regions affected by water masses and sea ice from differents regions and age. In the western sector, the upper water column was influenced by the inflowing west Spitsbergen current of Atlantic origin and mainly with first-second year ice, while the easter station was influenced by outflowing water from the Arctic Ocean and multiyear sea ice of more eastern origin.
To investigate the impacts of Russia's military and civilian nuclear activities in the Kola Bay and adjacent areas of the northwest Arctic coast of Russia.
Previous studies (Akvaplan-niva 1994 and 1996) on levels of POPs in limnic systems on Bear Island have shown that sediment and fish from a lake on the southern part of the island (Ellasjøen) have some of the highest levels of PCB and DDT that has been reported from Arctic areas. In a lake situated in the more central part of the island (Øyangen) levels are much lower, and in the same range as reported for lakes in Northern Norway and the Canadian Arctic. No local sources for contamination exist on Bear Island, and it is therefore likely that the contaminants are brought to the island with long-range atmospheric transport. The difference between the two investigated lakes on Bear Island may be due to differences in deposition of precipitation. This theory is currently being investigated through another project called: “Ellasjøen, Bear Island - A mass balance study of a high contaminated Arctic area." Another possible sources for contaminants to Ellasjøen can be the large colonies of seabirds that are situated close to the lake or use the lake for bathing. These seabirds may accumulate contaminants through their marine food chains and deposit guano in Ellasjøen and surrounding areas. Øyangen is much less influenced by seabirds than Ellasjøen. The aim of the present project is to map levels of selected persistent organic pollutants and study their biomagnification in freshwater and marine food chains at/near Bear Island. By linking the results from freshwater and marine food chains we aim to elucidate whether trophodynamics and interaction between marine and terrestrial food chains can be a natural mechanisms for biomagnification of POPs in specific geographic areas.
Multi-institutional, international cooperative project to determine the possible responses of Arctic marine communities to future global climate change by comparing retrospective patterns in benthic composition and distributions to past climatic events in the Barents and Bering Seas.