The full list of projects contains the entire database hosted on this portal, across the available directories. The projects and activities (across all directories/catalogs) are also available by country of origin, by geographical region, or by directory.
Polar bears are at the top of the arctic marine food chain. Owing to the high lipid content of their diet, polar bears appear particularly prone to bioaccumulate organochlorines. Polar bears from East Greenland and Svalbard have higher contaminant levels than polar bears elsewhere in the Arctic. Levels of PCBs in these areas might negatively affect reproduction and survival. So far more than 130 polar bear samples have been collected since 1999. These samples are being analysed for organochlorines and pathological effects.
The ZERO database contains all validated data from the Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations Basic Programmes (ClimateBasis, GeoBasis, BioBasis and MarinBasis). The purpose of the project is to run and update the database with new validated data after each succesfull field season. Data will be available for the public through the Zackenberg homepage linking to the NERI database. The yearly update is dependent on that each Basis programme delivers validated data in the proscribed format.
Organochlorines (OCs) concentrate through the arctic marine food webs and are stored in the adipose tissue due to their high lipophilic and persistent characteristics. The polar bears receive high doses of POPS through their diet and a controlled experimt was need to resolve effect on the immune system and effects on internal organs. Such a controlled experiment on sledge dogs as a replacement test organism for the polar bear was conducted from 2004-2006 to investigate dose-response effects.
The effects of biofilm settlement on corrosion resistance of stainless steels in polar seawaters are not well known. In warmer conditions (Mediterranean sea) biofilm increases both the risk of localised corrosion onset and the propagation rate of corrosion attack. Corrosion tests carried out in Antarctica demonstrated that biofilm growth at about 0°C induced electrochemical effects less important than those occurring in warmer conditions. On the contrary, corrosion tests performed in similar environmental conditions at Ny-Aalesund (Svalbard) showed more severe corrosion attack than in Antarctica. This research aims: - to define the influence of biofilm on stainless steel corrosion resistance in polar seawater in the range of temperature between -1 and +5 °C, - to define if change in salinity can influence corrosion process, - to identify stainless steel grades which can be acceptable in such conditions (polar seawater seems to be somewhat less corrosive, which gives the possibility to use cheaper stainless steels).
During the last decade the concern regarding environmental effects of the offshore industry has shifted from effects of drilling discharges on benthic communities, towards a stronger focus on the water column and effects on the pelagic ecosystem. At the same time, oil and gas development is expanding in the Norwegian and Russian sectors of the Barents Sea. In this regard, a project has been initiated to look at responses of especially Calanus spp. and other copepod species to long-term, sublethal exposure to selected offshore discharges and discharge components, as well as accidental oil spills. Calanus spp. is ecologically the most important zooplankton species along the Norwegian shelf and in the Barents Sea. A laboratory based facility for culture through several generations is being developed through this project. In addition, the impact of oil compounds on the cold-water and arctic Calanus species-complex will be examined by carrying out a series of laboratory (some at Ny Ålesund) and ship based experiments. The response parameters will include both behavioral (feeding, mate finding, avoidance) and physiological (mortality, egg production, development rates, oxygen consumption and assimilation efficiency) parameters. The ultimate outcome of this research is expected to be a supporting instrument for ecological risk assessment of offshore discharges, which is highly relevant both to the North Sea, the mid-Norway shelf and the Barents Sea.
This project investigates how solar UV radiation affects planktonic food webs in the Arctic by changing the nutritional quality of the lower trophic levels. UV radiation has been documented to lead to oxidation of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in phytoplankton. These PUFAs cannot be synthesized de novo by zooplankton, but are key molecules for the marine pelagic food web. A combined approach was chosen with both sampling of field data (physical as well as biological) and experiments which were carried out during two field seasons in Ny Ålesund in 2003 (april/may) and 2004 (may/june). In 2004, the main part of the field work consisted of an outdoor experiment where phytoplankton was exposed to different irradiation regimes, using the natural sunlight. Algae from all different treatments were used for feeding zooplankton in order to trace the transfer of irradiation-induced changes of the fatty acid composition in phytoplankton to the next trophic level. A number of additional parameters will be analysed as well, combined with the results of an extensive measurement series of both PAR- and UV light. The experiment was carried out on the old pier (Gamle Kaia), while the laboratory part took place in the Italian station ‘Dirigibile Italia’.
This project will examine benthic processes in arctic and mid-latitude regions in order to derive specific conclusions on the sensitivity of benthic organisms and communities to acute spills of petroleum-related chemicals and routine releases of drill cuttings. We will carry out a series of controlled experiments on whole sediment communities and individual benthic organisms with additions of drill cuttings and petroleum-associated contaminants, arriving at a set of hypotheses on the likely impacts on the benthos of petroleum production activities at higher latitudes. A series of testable hypotheses will be formulated based on an examination of real-world monitoring data sets collected under Norway’s Petroleum Regional Monitoring Programme and results of mesocosm experiments performed previously at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) Station at Solbergstrand. These data sets will be examined in order to identify the geographic scope of responses to petroleum industrial activities. Through this work, we intend to propose procedures to improve the interpretation of benthic monitoring data for diverse environmental regions in Norway. The project is linked to several on-going NFR projects within the Polarklima programme. By involving a Ph.D. student the project will advance the education and training of young scientists in the field of biological effects studies related to petroleum development and exploration activities.
The aim of this programme was to study the physiological and behavioural adaptations to the incubation fast in the female eider. This leads to study fundamental questions about three complementary field researches described below. 1. Evolutionary and ecological approaches: energetic costs of reproduction during incubation In long-lived birds as Eider, there must be trade-offs between the energy allocated in growth and in reproduction. Therefore, individuals develop different reproductive strategies in relation with biotic and non biotic factors to maximize their fitness. Among factors tested, we will first measure the effects of animal density on female reproductive success. Additionally, we will measure, thanks to genetic tests, 1) the characteristics of eider populations (dispertion) by comparing birds originating from several islands and several locations on the same island, 2) the frequency of intra-specific nest parasitism and 3) extra-pair copulations to link these events with female behavioural decisions. To link reproductive effort with female immunocompetence, we will then perform PHA (phytohaemagglutinine) skin tests at different stages of the incubation period. Finally, we will perform clutch reductions at different stages of the incubation period in order to highlight decision rules controlling nest desertion in females. 2. Physiological and ecological approaches: parental investment in reproduction We will also focus on the implication of prolactin and corticosterone in the control of parental decision at the hatching stage. Implantation of exogenous hormones will be done on nesting birds to evaluate the respective role of these two hormones in the control of parental decisions in eiders. Parental investment in incubation can be regulated by the reproductive value of the clutch size. To further understand the mechanism underlying nest desertion, we will measure the induced-changes in prolactin and corticosterone concentrations after clutch size manipulation overall the incubating period. 3. Physiological approach: regulation of body fuel utilization during fasting The aim will be to study the mechanisms of the regulation of body fuel utilization and energy expenditure during fasting. For this purpose, the ability of eider duck to withstand long periods of starvation will be studied by measuring the variations in plasma of major substrate concentrations (as index of lipid or protein breakdown) and hormones (e.g., leptin, glucagon, corticosterone, T3, ...). The study of duck’s adaptation to extended fasts occurring at specific stages of their life might help to understand important underlying mechanisms, such as reduction in energy expenditure, long-term regulation of body fat storage and mobilization, as well as long-term control of food intake.
Plankton of shallow polar freshwater water bodies is exposed to increasing levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) due to the limited water depth. Daphnia (Crustacea, waterflea) and algae are common representatives of the food chain in these water bodies. Daphnia almost exclusively use lipids for energy storage, which they obtain from their food (mainly algae). Therefore, Daphnia and algae are closely linked to each other. Preliminary experiments on the UV-induced damage in phyto- and zooplankton point to lipids as one of the key players. With this application we want to identify how algae specific lipids and fatty acids (FA) are modified by UVR. The factors modifying UV-doses to the animals and their food are depth of the waterbody and DOC (absorbs UV). A pondsurvey shall provide a wide spectrum on ponds which vary in DOC and depth. Lipid analysis of Daphnia and their food of these ponds as well as physical parameters of the pond waters shall identify correlations between UV-exposure and specific fatty acids. This shall enable us to estimate the effect of solar UVR on the freshwater plankton community in polar ponds.
The project investigated small-scale biotic interactions between laminated microbial communities and meiofauna at light-exposed sediment-water boundaries of estuarine lagoons. The production and biological structure of these systems is mainly determined by complex processes at the sediment-water interface which depend on finely scaled patterns, requiring appreciation of how the biota interact within these scales. We tested whether changing light conditions and active emergence of the harpacticoid species Mesochra lilljeborgi and Tachidius discipes are mediated by the activity of benthic oxygenic and anoxygenic phototrophic microbes. Two hypotheses were tested which addresses to the question of causality between changing light conditions and active emergence of the harpacticoid copepods. (1)The harpacticoid copepods T. discipes and M. lilljeborgi will enter the bottom water during daylight when oxygenic photosynthesis of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae is blocked and conditions at the sediment-water interface have turned anoxic. (2)Both species will not emerge during dark exposures when transferred to sterilized sediments.
The main objective was to investigate the importance of the sediment as a nutrient source for blooms of nuiscance filamentous algae. Nutrient fluxes from the sediment were hypothesised to be of greater importance in maintaining algal biomass than were nutrients originating from the overlying water column. We aimed to assess the relative importance of algal mats on sediment geochemistry and nutrient release under stillwater and controlled flow conditions. Using nutrient fluxes as a surrogate for ecosystem function, we wished to investigate the role of species richness in maintaining the integrity of nutrient diagenesis. In this context, it is not necessarily the number of species that is important in maintaining nutrient supply to algal blooms, but the contribution individual species make to mediate nutrient release.
The phsyiological and locomotive reaction to factors that influence environmental behaviour of Nordic krill from the Gullmarfjorden were studied in terms of swimming energetics, predator avoidence and food utilization. In a newly developed experimental approach, individuals were maintained under defined conditions in flow through chambers and continuously monitored for swimming activity and oxygen consumption. Chemical, physical and biological parameters were applied and the reaction of the krill determined. Stress levels, defined this way, will serve as a reference for unfavourable conditions in the field. Thermal characteristics of digestive enzymes from the midgut gland were furthermore identify the optimum conditions for nutrient assimilation. The results will contribute to the understanding of diel vertical migration, dispersion and aggregation of krill which, in turn is essential for the interpretation of ecosystem dynamics and trophic interactions.
The general objective of this research concerns the quantitative and qualitative study of particulate matter retained in natural (sea-ice and sediment) and artificial (sediment traps) traps in order to determine the main origin (autochtonous and allochtonous) and the relative importance of different fractions of particulate matter and to follow their fate in the environment. To quantify the autochtonous origin of particulate matter, primary production, nutrient uptake, biomass distribution, phytoplankton community structure and fluxes in the first levels of the trophic chain will be investigated. Studies will be conducted in the sea-ice environment and in the water column and compared to the particle fluxes measured both in the water, using sediment traps and in the sediment, by radiometric chronology, in order to estimate the different contribution of these habitats to carbon export to the bottom. The zooplankton will be identified and counted and primary production, nutrient uptake and phytoplankton dynamics will be related to hydrological structure and nutrient availability in the environment. The Kongsfjord results particularly suitable for the main objective of this research as it is influenced by important inputs of both atmospheric (eolic and meteroric) and glacial origin and is characterised by a complex hydrological situation which may promote autochtonous productive processes, thus determining important particulate fluxes.
In order to evaluate the capacity of mussels to accumulate pollutants and to enhance growth and physiological effects, an investigation was carried out in the Faroe Islands and in the Skagerrak. In March 2000, about 1500 mussels of proper dimensions (length ranging between 5 and 6 cm) were collected in the Kaldbak Fjord (Faroe Islands) on a 10m water column. Selected mussels were divided in 4 groups (320 each) and deployed in 4 different stations (one at the Faroe Islands and three in the Skagerrak). Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) were also deployed in the same stations for the preconcentration of lipophilic pollutants. One month later (end of April-beginning of May) mussels and SPMDs were recollected and sent to different laboratories for the determination of various parameters.
To be completed.
• This proposal is to develop a reliable method for forecasting the occurrence of marine mammals based on time of year, location and oceanographic conditions. • The work will exploit components of existing NERC-funded research within the core science programmes of SMRU and SAMS. • Pre-existing data on marine mammal aggregations lead us to believe that the proposed method has a high probability of success. • The main study area will be the Sea of the Hebrides and the Minch. • Historical data on marine mammal sightings will be supported by an observational programme, including the use of acoustics and satellite and radio tags. • Simultaneous oceanographic data will be collected during the above programme, supplementing the extensive SAMS archive of time-series from this area. • A proposed operational monitoring network in the southern Minch will be adapted to add acoustic observations to the planned suite of physical and chemical sensors. • The datasets will be analysed using a variety of statistical techniques to yield a practical relationship between observables (local oceanographic conditions, season, location) and species abundance. • The validity of this relationship as an operational tool will be tested in a variety of scenarios. • The work is expected to run from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2005.
• There is a clear need to predict the occurrence of marine mammals in order to minimise the possible harmful impact of military sonar activities, some of which have recently received extensive public media exposure. • No military or civilian method currently exists to predict the possibility of encountering marine mammals. • The proposed work will exploit components of existing NERC-funded research within the core science programmes of SAMS and SMRU to develop a predictive tool that will link marine mammal occurrence to classical oceanographic observables. • Pre-existing data on marine mammal aggregations lead us to believe that the proposed method has a high probability of success. • The main study area will be the open seas to the north and west of the Hebrides. • Existing NERC-funded SAMS cruises in this area will collect oceanographic data, supplementing remotely sensed imagery and the extensive SAMS archive of time-series from this area. • A key element in achieving the proposal objective (and in furthering NERC science objectives) will be the recruitment of SMRU observers and equipment to SAMS cruise complements so that marine mammal sightings may be linked directly to the oceanographic research programme. • Additional SMRU deployments on board vessels of opportunity will increase the density of the observational programme. • The suitability of SOSUS acoustic data as an indicator of marine mammal presence will be investigated. • The datasets will be analysed using a variety of statistical techniques to yield a practical relationship between observables (local oceanographic conditions, season, location) and species abundance. • The value of the relationship as an operational tool will be tested in a variety of scenarios. • The work is expected to run from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2005.
To be completed.
To be completed.