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Mare incognitum – ecological processes during the polar night (Mare incognitum)

Summary from the NRC proposal: The primary objective of this project is to achieve a basic understanding of Arctic biodiversity and food web structure during the Arctic polar night, and how reproduction, growth, trophic interactions, and life-history traits during this nearly unstudied time contribute to functioning of Arctic ecosystems. By focusin

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Project date

Starts
2013-01-01

Ends
2018-12-31

Project status

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Project type

  • field work
  • arctic field grant (afg)

Discipline

  • marine biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / marine habitat

Fieldwork information

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Summary

Summary from the NRC proposal: The primary objective of this project is to achieve a basic understanding of Arctic biodiversity and food web structure during the Arctic polar night, and how reproduction, growth, trophic interactions, and life-history traits during this nearly unstudied time contribute to functioning of Arctic ecosystems. By focusing on three of the main prioritised areas within the call – processes, current state of the ecosystem and connections within the polar regions, we will reach our primary objective while at the same time addressing main gaps in knowledge that have so far hindered a comprehensive understanding of the processes that govern Arctic marine ecosystems. We divide our work into four Units, of which the first entails synthesis of knowledge from ongoing projects. The second Unit is devoted to exploration and mapping of patterns and processes that govern the marine habitat during the polar night, first of all the biodiversity, structure and function of benthic food chains. The third Unit is composed of case studies in which effects of climate change are at the core, and which will draw upon the knowledge provided through Units 1 and 2. By focusing on Svalbard and adjacent waters and the specific adaptations and biology of key organisms living there, we thereby aim at answering important research questions that together will enhance our ability to understand polar systems at a pan-Arctic scale. The fourth Unit is exclusively devoted to data management, communication, and outreach, creating added value by linking a large portfolio of research projects. Through these projects we synthesise processes across the cryosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, and as such, integrate our project in an Earth System Science (ESS) perspective.

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