By Ingrid Wiedmann
Most samples from last years’ ARCEx cruise to fjords on Svalbard and the western Barents Sea are now analyzed and I am very happy about this. Finished analyses means we have come a good step forward, but my scientific work does not stop here. So, what is next?
Based on the raw data from my laboratory analyses, I can now put together graphs and suddenly all the scattered numbers I produced in the lab form a kind of pattern and I can finally say how much biomass was sinking out at different locations we visited during our cruise. You may ask who cares about sinking biomass at a random place in the Barents Sea. Easy answer: Fish and other animals living at the bottom do care a lot, because the more material sinks to the bottom, the more they have to feed on. In this context, I think it is very interesting that we found big differences in how much was sinking out in the Arctic and the Atlantic influenced part of the western Barents Sea. But a major question remains to be solved – why did we observe that difference?
To learn more about the why, I decided to visit Dr. Morten Iversen and Helga van der Jagt at MARUM, the Center of Marine Science of the University Bremen, Germany (thanks to the travel support by the Terje and Valerie Stalder Jacobsens Research Foundation at UiT!). Morten and Helga also joined last year’s ARCEx cruise and now we try to put all our data like puzzle pieces together and interpret them. In this way, we aim to get closer to an answer why we observed these different intensities in the sinking biomass and then start to put these findings into a scientific publication to get our new knowledge out into the world.