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A different spring

The spring 2020 turned out very differently than planned. This has caused challenges, but also shows an impressive ability to adapt.

Due to several circumstances, all cruise activity in the Nansen Legacy originally planned for the 2020 spring period has been postponed, and is now planned for next spring.

Seasonal cruise Q1 panned for March, was postponed because of a temporal limitation on ice operations with RV Kronprins Haakon that resulted from discovery of repair needs during guarantee required and scheduled shipyard work prior to the cruise.

Seasonal cruise Q2 planned for April/May, was postponed due to the national and institutional regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARCTOS/Nansen Legacy PhD course onboard RV Helmer Hanssen planned for May, was postponed due to the national and institutional regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closed universities and research institutions have sent most researchers to home offices, with strong limitations in laboratory work and analysis, and less optimal working conditions.

Despite this situation, most of the project participants show a great ability to adapt and use the time well. People work from home with non-field research, analysis of collected data, or with related data provided to support the progress of the candidates. Papers are being written and experiments planned. The postponement of cruises has greatest consequences for the progress of the seasonal investigations in the project. This is especially a challenge for early career scientists with shorter contracts and research focus including the early spring field measurements. The additional restrictions of access to laboratories and buildings in connection with COVID-19 also puts a strain to progress by postponing lab work and analysis. The Nansen Legacy leadership has received input from supervisors, PhD students and post docs to map the situation and find the best way to minimize the consequences for the early careers and for the project as a whole.

Impact of postponement of cruises on the scientific progress of Nansen Legacy PhD students and post doctoral fellows.

Nansen Legacy intensive course

The first Nansen Legacy interdisciplinary intensive course for PhD students and post docs was held at UiT’s field station in Skibotn 2-7 February 2020. Participants included 19 lecturers from six NL institutions, and 18 students from nine NL institutions. The course was an interdisciplinary introduction to the Arctic Ocean ecosystem, organized in four overarching themes: advection, stratification, sea ice, and ecosystem. Each theme was presented from different disciplinary angles from several lecturers. Throughout the course, students also worked in groups of 3-4 people, building a conceptual model in which their own research was coupled with the research of the other members of the group. The course led to valuable cross-disciplinary discussions, generating new research ideas between NL scientists, and hence serving also as a seeding bank for new interdisciplinary collaboration.

Three months glide in the Polar Front

In November 2019, Nansen Legacy scientists released a glider in the Barents Sea. Three months later in the end of March 2020, the glider was successfully retrieved. During its voyage, the glider continously collected data on sea temperature and water salinity. The data will give information on the spatial structure of the Polar front, an important oceanographic feature in the Barents Sea where warmer Atlantic water meets colder Arctic water masses.

Track of Nansen Legacy glider in the Polar front area of the Barents Sea from November 2019 to March 2020.

Nansen Legacy side events at Arctic Frontiers

The Nansen Legacy was represented with two side events during the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø in January 2020. On Jan 27, the project gathered some of its scientists and members of the project's reference group for dialog. The main question addressed was how knowledge from a scientific project can reach users and policy makers, and how one can increase the competence among scientists in order to provide scientific results in a useful format for users and policy makers.

On Jan 28, the Nansen Legacy contributed to a side event on Arctic fisheries. Drawing on experiences from Arctic shelf seas, the panel addressed the critical elements of modern fisheries management, including scientific work to understand and monitor marine ecosystems and how they are changing, the provision of scientific advice, cooperation between governments on management of transboundary fish stocks, domestic resource management regimes, and robust enforcement practices are important here. The panel also discussed the new central Arctic Ocean fisheries agreement.

Participants of the Nansen Legacy side event at Arctic Frontiers Jan 27. Back left: Edel O. Elvevoll (moderator, UiT The Arctic University of Norway), Stig-Morten Knutsen (Norwegian Petroleum Directorate), Tor Eldevik (Bjerknes Center), Leif Christian Stige (University of Oslo), Malte Müller (Norwegian Meteorological Institute) and Rolf Rødven (AMAP). Front left: Marit Registad (PI The Nansen Legacy), Anne Christine Brussendorf (ICES), Øyvind Rinaldo (Norwegian Coastal Administration) and Geir Wing Gabrielsen (Norwegian Polar Institute)

Webinars to bring together people and ideas

The project is regularly arranging webinars on scientific and non-scientific topics in order to facilitate dialogue and exchange of ideas between Nansen Legacy scientists on a more regular basis. For the weeks and months to come, the Nansen Legacy will increase the frequency of its webinars to increase companionship and dialogue in the time of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Nansen Legacy webinars are open to everyone inside and outside the project. They are announced on the project's webside.
[Title photo: NPI technician Jon Leithe deploys a glider together with the crew onboard RV Kronprins Haakon in August 2019. (c) Christian Morel / christianmorel.net]