Hopp til hovedteksten
This is where summer was hidden this year.
Photo: Bjørn Einar Grøsvik
Print friendly version

First year sampling plastics

This year for the first time, we are taking samples of microplastics during the annual Barents Sea Ecosystem Survey, writes marine researcher Bjørn Einar Grøsvik in this chapter of the cruise diary.

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.



Sampling for Environmental Chemistry with good help from technicians in the Demersal Fish research group (from left) Guri Nesje, Arne Storaker and Julie Døvle Johansen.

Photo: Bjørn Einar Grøsvik


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 mover 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.



The net for monitoring pollution on the water surface in action.

Photo: Bjørn Einar Grøsvik


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.

Barents Sea Facts

Russian name: Barentsevo More
Size: 1.4 million km2 in surface area (approximately four times as large as Norway).
Depth: Average depth = 230 m, Maximum depth = 500 m
Fisheries: Bottom fish such as cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, long rough dab, and redfish. Other commercially important species include: capelin; northern shrimp; minke whales, and harp seals
Special features:

  • Large annual variations in temperature relative to ice coverage
  • A shallow sea which makes up a portion of the continental shelf around the Arctic Ocean
  • Has one of the largest concentrations of sea birds in the world: approximately 20 million individuals distributed across 40 different species
  • Management of living marine resources in the Barents Sea is carried out through collaboration between Norway and Russia.
The Barent Sea Ecosystem