Tromsø – Longyearbyen Research Cruise
Fromm Lab member participates on a research cruise to Svalbard
The FF-Helmer Hansen, Tromsø – Longyearbyen research cruise embarked on its journey from Tromsø on the 22nd of August and finished at the port of Longyearbyen after travelling a total distance of 907.06 nautical miles. The research cruise continued for 6 days and 19 hours, with a total sample processing duration amounting to more than 140 hours while the sampling itself summated for a total of around 20 hours.
A total of 9 stations were sampled, traversing across the Barents Sea to the East of Bjørnøya and passing through the Hinlopen strait from the south before following the coast of Spitsbergen to the west and south before turning eastwards into Isfjorden.
The research cruise was organized by Dr. Andreas Altenburger, Associate Professor at The Arctic University Museum in collaboration with research teams from University of Vienna, Greifswald University and Swedish Museum of Natural History. Fromm Lab PhD student Anju Hembrom participated in the research cruise.
During the cruise, flora and fauna samples were collected using multi-corer and triangular dredge, epibenthic sledge and plankton nets at a vast range of depths. Despite the unexpected challenges due to harsh weather conditions and cold in the very beginning of the cruise, the cruise was a huge success, as several representatives of key organism groups such as Brachiopods, Bryozoans, Kinorhynchs and Chaetognaths (among others) were collected, and which will be used for genome and microRNA sequencing for the MIRevolution project and represent a valuable foundation for Anju's PhD project.
Apart from the exciting marine invertebrate specimens collected (which were the focus of the cruise), the Arctic Sea also offered an amazing wealth of marine biodiversity. A large number of bird and marine mammal species were sighted during the cruise, including puffins, fulmars, great skuas, guillemots, minke and fin whales, striped dolphins, and walruses. The cruise also had an amazing catch of Spotted wolfish, Atlantic Wolfish, Caplin and various flatfish.