Research on pollutants

The Norwegian Polar Institute performs research on how pollutants enter arctic food chains, their sources, accumulation and modes of transport. The scientists study biological effects on species high in the food chain and find out how changes in climate affect pollutants in the European Arctic. 

The marine ecology of species of plants and animals in Svalbard which depend upon ice is another key field of research at the Polar Institute. The research is especially concerned with how climate change affects ice and the ecosystem in the ice-edge zone and the fjords.

Four test tubes Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute


Pollutants are chemicals which degrade slowly, can accumulate in living organisms and are toxic. They are transported in the atmosphere and by rivers and ocean currents from industrialised, densely populated areas and relatively large agricultural areas towards the poles in both hemispheres.  

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Latest articles on pollutants

  • Master thesis project on arctic ecotoxicology – Pollutant effects in walruses

    The Norwegian Polar Institute and UiT The Arctic University of Norway are looking for a student to a master thesis project that will examine contaminant related health effects in walruses from Svalbard. Walrus samples will be analyzed for pollutants, hormone levels and immunological responses. In addition they will be analyzed for mRNA expression of genes related to hormone disruption and immune suppression.

  • International prohibition of the pesticide endosulfan

    In early May the Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed to ban use of the pesticide endosulfan. This pesticide has highly detrimental effects not only on human health but also in the environment, where it persists and can be transported over long distances.

  • Pesticides in Svalbard snow

    Scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) have investigated the amount of pesticides in the snow in Svalbard. Read about their findings here.

  • International workshop on black carbon in snow

    A seminar on black carbon in snow sampling, albedo effects and climate impact was recently organized in Tromsø.

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