Svalbard: projects/activities

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Directory entires that have specified Svalbard as one of the geographic regions for the project/activity and are included in the AMAP, ENVINET, SAON and SEARCH directories. Note that the list of regions is not hierarchical, and there is no relation between regions (e.g. a record tagged with Nunavut may not be tagged with Canada). To see the full list of regions, see the regions list. To browse the catalog based on the originating country (leady party), see the list of countries.

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Displaying: 1 - 11 of 11
1. Living in a spatially structured environment: evolutionary ecology of seabird-parasite interactions

The aim of this research program is to examine the response of animal populations to environmental variability at different spatial scales. We attempt to determine how individuals respond to the spatial heterogeneity of their environment, and what are the consequences of this response for the dynamics of subdivided populations. Specifically, we consider an ecological system involving biotic interactions at three levels: seabirds, their tick _Ixodes uriae_, and the microparasite _Borrelia burgdorferi_ sensu lato (Lyme disease agent). Colonies of seabirds represent discrete entities, within and among which parasites can circulate. Our previous work on this system in the norwegian arctic has enable us to show that (1) host dispersal can be affected by local conditions, (2) seabird tick populations are specialised among different host species, namely between sympatric kittiwakes _Rissa tridactyla_ and puffins _Fratercula arctica_, (3) in the kittiwake, females transmit antibodies against _Borrelia burgdorferi_ when their chicks have a high probability to be exposed to the tick vector. We propose to combine different approaches, incorporating field surveys and experiments and population genetic studies (of hosts and parasites), in order to better understand the role of local interactions and dispersal in the dynamics of such a system. The research program implies collaborations with researchers from other french groups, as well as with Canadian (Queen’s University) and Norwegian colleagues (from NINA and the University of Tromsø).

Biology Populations Epidemiology Evolutionary ecology Spatial trends Biodiversity Seabirds Ecosystems
2. Detection of spatial, temporal, and spectral surface changes in the Ny-Ålesund area 79 N, Svalbard, using a low cost multispectral camera in combination with spectroradiometer measurements.

Changes in surface reflection at the arctic tundra at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard (79 N) were monitored during the melting season 2002 using a low cost multispectral digital camera with spectral channels similar to channels 2, 3, and 4 of the Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite sensor. The camera was placed 474 m above sea level at the Zeppelin Mountain Research Station and was programmed to take an image automatically every day at solar noon. To achieve areal consistency in the images (which is necessary for mapping purposes) the images were geometrically rectified into multispectral digital orthophotos. In contrast to satellite images with high spatial resolution the orthophotos provide data with high spatial and high temporal resolution at low cost. The study area covers approximately 2 km2 and when free of snow, it mainly consists of typical high arctic tundra with patchy vegetation and bare soil in between. The spectral information in the images was used to divide the rectified images into maps representing different surface classes (including three subclasses of snow). By combining classified image data and ground measurements of surface reflectance, a model to produce daily maps of surface albedo was developed. The model takes into account that snow-albedo decreases as the snow pack ages; and that the albedo decreases very rapidly when the snow pack is shallow enough (20-30 cm) to let surface reflectance get influenced by the underlying ground. Maps representing days with no image data (due to bad weather conditions) were derived using interpolation between pixels with equal geographical coordinates. The time series of modeled albedo-maps shows that the time it takes for the albedo to get from 80% to bare ground levels varies from less than 10 days in areas near the coast or in the Ny-Ålesund settlement till more than 70 days in areas with large snow accumulations. For the entire study area the mean length of the 2002 melting period was 28.3 days with a standard deviation of 15.1 days. Finally, the duration of the snowmelt season at a location where it is measured routinely, was calculated to 23 days, which is very close to what is the average for the last two decades.

Digital camera Hydrography Mapping Geophysics Climate variability Orthophotograph Spatial trends Remote sensing Orthophoto Modelling Arctic GIS Spectral Temporal trends Ecosystems
3. BIRD satellite validation

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) Bi-spectral Infrared Detection (BIRD) small satellite is a technology demonstrator of new infrared push-broom sensors dedicated to recognition and quantitative characterisation of thermal processes on the Earth surface. BIRD was successfully piggy-back launched on October 22, 2001 with an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C3) into a circular sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 572 km and a North - South local equator crossing time at 10:30 h. Besides cameras working in the visible and near infrared spectral range there are two cameras working in the middle infrared (MIR, 3.4 – 4.2 µm) and in the thermal spectral range (TIR, 8.5 – 9.3 µm) respectively. The objective is to validate these two cameras in cooperation with the Koldewey-Station in Ny-Ålesund. Therefore meteorological and aerological data as well as radiation measuring data will be used.

Atmospheric processes Vegetation fires Mapping Clouds Fire maps Spatial trends Forest damage Industrial hazards Hot spots Atmosphere Temporal trends Volcanic activities Vegetation changes Satellite validation
4. Arctic Airborne Measuring Program 2002

The subject is to determine the horizontal distribution of aerosol and trace gases by airborne measurements with the Gulfstream III (transarctic flight), ground based measurements in Ny Ålesund (Koldewey Station, Rabben) and satellite measurements with SAGE II / SAGE III. Objective is to get vertical and horizontal aerosol profiles, to research the trace gase variations in the Arctic and to compare remote sensing und in situ measurements.

Aerosols Atmospheric processes Trace gases Climate variability Climate Spatial trends Climate change Arctic Atmosphere
5. Stratospheric ozone loss determination (Match)

By launching several hundred ozonesondes and by ozone lidar measurements at many Arctic and sub-Arctic stations, one of them Ny-Ålesund, the stratospheric chemical ozone loss will be determined. The launches of all stations will be coordinated by analysis of trajectory calculations based on analysis and forecast wind fields. The aim is to get as many ozone sounding pairs as possible, each of them linked by trajectories in space and time. A statistical description of the ozone differencies given by the first and the second measurement of individual sonde pairs will yield the chemical ozone loss with spatial and time resolution. Four similar campaigns took place in the Arctic and in the mid-latitudes covering the time period of Januar to March in each of the last four winters. In the first three winters high ozone depletion rates (20 - 50 ppbv per day) were determined in some height levels within the polar vortex. In the height level of the ozone maximum an integrated ozone loss (during the winter) in the order of 60 % have been found. These are record ozone losses for the Arctic polar region. In the last winter the ozone depletion rates had been much lower due to moderate temperatures in the stratosphere.

Atmospheric processes Ozone MATCH Climate variability Stratosphere Climate Spatial trends Climate change Ozonesonde Arctic Atmosphere Temporal trends
6. Heat and mass transfer in the active layer

The active layer, the annually freezing and thawing upper ground in permafrost areas, is of pivotal importance. The moisture and heat transfer characteristics of this layer also determine the boundary layer interactions of the underlying permafrost and the atmosphere and are therefore important parameters input for geothermal or climate modeling. Finally, changes in the characteristics of the permafrost and permafrost related processes may be used as indicators of global ecological change provided the system permafrost-active layer-atmosphere is understood sufficiently well. The dynamics of permafrost soils is measured with high accuracy and high temporal resolution at our two sites close to Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Using these continuous data we quantify energy balance components and deduce heat transfer processes such as conductive heat flux, generation of heat from phase transitions, and migration of water vapor.

Water flux Geology Soils Geophysics Spatial trends Modelling Arctic Permafrost Temporal trends Energy flux
7. Persistent organic pollutants in marine organisms in the marginal ice zone near Svalbard: Bioconcentration and biomagnification

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.

habitats Biology sea ice drift route Organochlorines PCBs Fish Long-range transport Spatial trends Sea ice Contaminant transport Ice trophic positions Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Seabirds Food webs metabolism Pesticides ice-associated organisms Diet zooplankton
8. Effects of persistent organic pollutants on polar bears in Svalbard

The study covers many areas of ecotoxicology research on polar bears. Monitoring of POP levels and studies of effects on endocrine disruption, immune system, reproduction, and demography are all parts of the study.

Biological effects Biology Populations Organochlorines PCBs Heavy metals Spatial trends Climate change Polar bear Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Reproduction Pesticides Temporal trends Marine mammals
9. Environmental Assessment in van Mijenfjorden, Svalbard

The project aims to describe the environmental status of marine sediments in van Mijenfjorden. This to provide baseline data of contaminants and biodiversity, as well as for monitoring of eventual contamination from industrial activities (coal mining).

Biological effects Glaciers Biology Populations Discharges Spatial trends Environmental management Mining Oceanography Biodiversity Arctic Sediments Temporal trends Ecosystems
10. Benthic fauna in the Kongsfjorden, Svalbard

Investigation of benthic faunal communities for: taxon distribution/ biodiversity mapping; examination of effects of glacial and physical disturbance on community structure; relation between faunal structure and sediment contaminants.

Biological effects Glaciers Biology Mapping Physical disturbance Spatial trends Pollution sources Environmental management Climate change Biodiversity Arctic Sediments Temporal trends Ecosystems
11. Environmental assessment of the Isfjorden complex, Svalbard

The project aims to carry out an environmental assessment of the marine environment close to the three main settlements in the Isfjorden complex; Barentsburg, Longyearbyen and Pyramiden. The study comprises analyses of sediment geochemistry and soft-bottom benthic fauna. Attention is given to distinguishing atmospheric transport of contaminants from those arising from local sources.

Biological effects Sources Pollution sources Contaminant transport Mining Primary recipient Radionuclides Modelling Dioxins/furans Sediments Pesticides Waste secondary recipient Biology Organochlorines PCBs Mapping Heavy metals PAHs Long-range transport Discharges Spatial trends Environmental management Petroleum hydrocarbons Biodiversity Arctic Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Local pollution Data management Temporal trends Ecosystems