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The Chemistry Laboratory IMR
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The Chemistry Laboratory

Environmental monitoring and investigations of the role of the ocean in global climate change, has been a central task for the Chemistry Laboratory since the early days of the Institute of Marine Research.The laboratory examine environmental samples for dissolved inorganic nutrients, algal biomass, radionucleide composition and organic toxins. Additionally, separate laboratories for seawater salinity, benthic meiofauna and zooplankton identification are under the auspice of the Chemistry Laboratory.

The main laboratory can be found on the second floor in the “Hightower” (Høyblokken, Norw.) at Nordnes in Bergen. The laboratory has one big main facility and 20 additional special purpose  built rooms. The Chemistry Laboratory is administered by the Department for Technical Infrastructure (Avdeling for Teknisk Infrastruktur, Norw.).

The Chemistry Laboratory can offer a number of analytical services and a subset of these are approved by a Norwegian Accreditation Board (Norsk Akkreditering, Norw.):

  • PAH in biological matter.
  • PAH in sediments.
  • THC (total hydrocarbon) in sediments.
  • PCB and pesticides in biological matter.
  • Radioactive cesium (Cs) in sediments and biological materials.
  • Cs-137 in seawater.
  • Dissolved nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and silicate in seawater .

The Chemistry Laboratory complies with the Commitment to Quality statement (Havforskingsinstituttet sin kvalitetspolitikk  ,Norw.) issued by the Institute of Marine Research.



The Chemistry Laboratory in Bergen is in compliance with the terms of quality control NS-EN ISO/IEC 17025 (2005). We are an analytical laboratory certified by Norwegian Accrediation Board (Norsk Akkreditering, Norw.) for chemical analysis (P12), determination of radioactive and ionizing radiation (P22), as registered under “Test166”. A list of accredited analysis can be obtained upon enquiry at Norsk Akkreditering (Norw.)


Mission statement

  • The Chemistry Laboratory is to perform all chemical analysis that the Institute of Marine Research requires, within the confines of available equipment, personnel, and technical know-how.
  • The Chemistry Laboratory will provide analytical results at the highest possible quality and as required by customer, as it maintains a close association with the researchers who is using the laboratory.
  • The Chemistry Laboratory is to maintain certified and keep strive to keep up-to-date on methods and analytical skills

Research areas

Organic chemistry
This laboratory has equipment and analytical skills to monitor traces of organic environmental toxins, residual oil hydrocarbons and the composition of lipids (the signature) in sediments and organic matter. A major component of the work is part of the environmental monitoring in open oceans and coastal regions off Norway.

Inorganic chemistry
This laboratory analyze dissolved inorganic nutrients, chlorophyll-pigments, and a number of biogeochemical parameters collected from seawater. These measurements provide a crucial component to the environmental monitoring of the Norwegian coast and adjacent open oceans. The Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory also provides analytical services for specific project focused on ocean acidification and global climate change.

This laboratory has equipment and analytical skills to monitor radioactive contamination (gamma and beta emitters) in the environment, heavy isotopes used in tracer experiments and dating of organic materials using lead isotopes. The laboratory is an integral part of the Nuclear Action Plan in Norway.

Seawater salinity
This laboratory determine seawater conductivity and can measure seawater salinity to the 4th decimal point. These analysis are used to field calibrate all conductivity sensors used on the monitoring cruises.

Benthos laboratory
This laboratory determine invertebrate species composition, abundance and size from benthic sediments using a stereomicroscope and image capture and analysis. This laboratory is also utilized for species identification of fish.

Zooplankton laboratory
This laboratory has equipment and analytical skills for zooplankton species identification and biomass, species maturity, planktonic egg development, and stomach content analysis in both zooplankton and pelagic fisk.