Jane Godiksen is cruise leader aboard "Johan Hjort", and she tells that the ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea is a collaborative project between IMR and the Russian sister institute PINRO in Murmansk. The survey has been carried out since 2003.
– This is the most comprehensive survey IMR conducts, says Godiksen, and adds that there are four vessels participating in the survey, three Norwegian and one Russian.
During the ecosystem survey, the marine scientists examine “everything" that can be examined in the Barents Sea. Research coordinator Elena Eriksen has made the following list of the tasks she and her colleagues will conduct:
– We will map the temperature conditions in the ocean from surface to bottom, conduct biomass measurement of both phyto- and zooplankton, carry out acoustic measurements of fish and macroplankton, find the distribution of tens of fish species, analyse what cod, capelin and polar cod eat etc. Additionally, we register the garbage floating on the surface or may catch in our trawls or other gears. Unfortunately there is allocated less money to this year’s survey than previously. Therefore we have to skip the sampling on the seabed and the examination of organisms living on and in it. We also have to leave out the registration of sea mammals this year, says Eriksen.
Students and testing of gears
The ecosystem survey also provides students a great opportunity to increase their knowledge about the marine life. Therefore students will participate also this year, too.
– Students from UNIS on Svalbard will be on board the "G.O. Sars ". They will enter the vessel in Tromsø and participate when we examine Eggakanten, the continental slope between Mainland Norway and Svalbard, says Eriksen.
In addition, there will be conducted experiments with the aim to modernize the equipment that marine scientists use for sampling, and to improve monitoring methods.