The purpose of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) is to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems. SAON was initiated by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, and was established by the 2011 Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk.
The SAON inventory builds on a survey circulated in the community at the inception of the activity. This database is continously updated and maintained, and contains projects, activities, networks and programmes related to environmental observation in the circum-polar Arctic.
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Zooplankton make essential links between producers and predators in marine ecosystems, so mediating in the CO2 exchange between atmosphere and ocean They can be indicators of climate variability, and changes in zooplankton species distribution and abundance may have cascading effects on food webs. West Spitsbergen Current is the main pathway of transport of Atlantic waters and biota into the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic shelf seas. West Spitsbergen Shelf coastal and fjordic waters, therefore, are natural experimental areas to study mechanisms by which the Atlantic and Arctic marine ecosystem interact, and to observe environmental changes caused by variability in climate. The main objectives of the zooplankton monitoring are: a) to study patterns and variability in composition and abundance in zooplankton of the West Spitsbergen Current and the West Spitsbergen fjords and coastal waters; b) to find out environmental factors responsible for the observed patterns and variability in zooplankton, and to understand possible relations between zooplankton and their environment on different space and time scales; c) to observe and monitor the variability in zooplankton in relation to local and global climate changes.