This year’s Barents Sea Ecosystem Survey is underway and Johan Hjort is now finished on the Finnmark Coast and is heading northwards in the eastern Barents Sea, where we also found sun and summer temperatures.
The sampling is going quickly with experienced people involved in every stage. The research group Environmental Chemistry is also involved this year as we revolve with three-year intervals in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea and North Sea. We are taking samples for chemical analyses of radioactivity, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and analyses of biomarkers for pollution. We are taking the samples for radioactivity from seawater, sediment and fish muscle. For POPs, we are sampling the sediment and fish muscle and liver, while for pollution the samples are taken from fish liver, bile and blood.
This is useful for time series and comparing levels in the Barents Sea with what we find in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea. A new feature of this year’s survey is that we are also taking samples of microplastics from the water surface. We filter 2 m3 over various filter magnitudes in order to get data about microplastic particles in the surface water. We also have a net (Otter Surface Sampler) like Thor Heyerdahl junior used to monitor particulate oil pollution in surface water in the Norwegian Sea in the 1970s.
This tool is also of interest for counting particles of microplastics on the surface, and it will be exciting to see if we can get new data for both during the cruise.
Otherwise, life is good when you can enjoy freshly boiled shrimps on deck.