ICE Ecosystems and research

The focus of ICE Ecosystems will be those organisms in the ecosystem that are obligate dependent on ice in some part of their life cycles and their effect and dependence upon other organisms. During the first five years of ICE Ecosystems, we will focus our research on ice fauna, zooplankton, polar cod, polar bears, ringed seals and ivory gulls.

All of these species are tightly affiliated with sea ice through most of the annual cycle. Polar bears and ivory gulls do of course produce young on land most of the time (though both also do breed on sea ice) – but they are dependent on ice-filled waters within the marine environment for their food. Ringed seals are totally dependent on sea ice, including using it as a birthing platform.

The leader of ICE Ecosystems and research is senior research scientist Haakon Hop.

Ice-dependent ecosystem

Ice-dependent ecosystem. Illustration: Audun Igesund / Norwegian Polar Institute