Hopp til hovedteksten
The annual ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea is under way. June Godiksen is the cruise leader aboard "Johan Hjort". In all, three Norwegian and one Russian vessel are conducting the survey.
Photo: Gunnar Sætra
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Ready to examine the Barents Sea "from A to Z"

Once more the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) is ready to examine the Barents Sea "from A to Z". The annual ecosystem survey started when the research vessel "Johan Hjort" left the port of Tromsø yesterday.

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.

Examine “all”

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.


The map shows the course lines the Norwegian vessels will follow during this year's ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea. The dots show the sampling stations.

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.


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