ARCEx aims for advances in the environmental risk management. However, to provide a risk assessment, which is well-tailored to the unique exploration and future operational challenges in the Arctic, it is essential to have a solid understanding of Arctic marine ecosystems. As especially the physical and ecological processes in the marginal ice zone of Arctic seas are still not well understood, ARCEx provides ship time (R/V “Helmer Hanssen”) in May 2016 to improve the understanding of this system. During the 12 days cruise, the ARCEx postdocs Ingrid Wiedmann (UiT The Arctic University of Norway) and Nathalie Morata (Akvaplan-niva, APN) as well as the ARCEx PhD student Ana Sofia Ancieto (APN) will conduct field based research in fjords on Svalbard and the marginal ice zone of the western Barents Sea. The three young women are accompanied by a team of national and international scientists from UiT, APN, the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Institute for Marine Research (Norway), the University of Bremen (Germany), the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST, Saudi Arabia), Dauphin Island Sea Lab (US) and IOPAN (Poland). In a joint approach, the 25 scientists will address various aspects related to ARCEx work package 3.1 (Ecosystems connected to benthos), 3.2 (Pelagic ecosystems and vertical export) and 4.1 (Constraints for geophysical exploration in ecological vulnerable areas). This will help to fill gaps of knowledge and provide valuable input to the development of a new environmental risk management plan. For more detailed information on the cruise, the participating scientists, and the work on the boat, please stay tuned and follow our cruise blog in May!

(text and pictures: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Loading scientific equipment in Longyearbyen on R/V Helmer Hanssen
Loading scientific equipment in Longyearbyen on R/V Helmer Hanssen
R/V Helmer Hanssen in drift ice with Svalbard at the horizon
R/V Helmer Hanssen in drift ice with Svalbard at the horizon