Marine ecological studies in the Marginal Ice Zone and Kongsfjorden
Effects of climate variability on the marine ecosystem in Kongsfjorden
This is a long-term commitment (since 1995) that includes annual zooplankton and oceanography transects in Kongsfjorden and sampling in the Marginal Ice Zone around Svalbard. The overall focus of these studies is to determine the effects of climate change on the marine system around the ice edge and in Svalbard fjords. There are some dramatic changes happening in these areas, with retreating ice edge, thinning of the polar ice cap, potential disappearance of ice associated organisms, and increased influx of Atlantic water, with its associated boreal fauna to fjords on West-Spitsbergen. The effects of climate warming on the marine system will firstly affect the lower trophic levels, with cascading effects upwards to marine mammals and seabirds. It is therefore important to study changes in the structure and function of the marine food web, as well as the underlying physical factors.