Arctic Biology


Cold, but not cold enough!

21 March 2019

This Svalbard winter has been cold, but still the mean air temperature in January and February has been above normal. March has started off cold and is so far below the monthly standard, but Adventfjorden is still without sea ice. So what is the sea temperature now?


Algae – the foundation of life

15 March 2019

Due to all the ongoing and predicted climate changes it is obvious that primary productivity in the Arctic is going to change – but still, there is very little reliable information available on the subject. PhD candidate Ane Cecilie Kvernvik has studied single-celled sea ice algae in Svalbard.


Summer/autumn courses 2019 open for application

25 January 2019

Apply now for our summer semester courses! The application deadline is 15 February 2019.



Funding for new high-arctic, interdisciplinary field laboratory

15 January 2019

UNIS associate professor in Arctic biology Pernille B. Eidesen has gotten funding of NOK 1.35 million from the Olav Thon Foundation to develop a high-arctic, interdisciplinary field laboratory for research and teaching.


Stories from Rijpfjorden 5: On the way in (and out) of Rijpfjorden

5 November 2018

When Captain Albertsen from Tromsø slowly sailed into Rijpfjorden on 3 September 1945 to pick up the last of armed German soldiers in Europe, he had no idea of what was expecting him. Perhaps the fjord was full of fissured and half-melted drift ice as he headed south to the inner part of Rijpfjorden. That was the sight I met the first time I was in Rijpfjorden in September 2004. At that time I did not know how important Rijpfjorden would turn out to be for me, both as a researcher and as an individual.


Stories from Rijpfjorden 4: On mine kibbles, sea ice and food chains

2 November 2018

Sea ice and snow reflect and absorb effectively up to 99% of all light, which in turn helps regulate the start and length of the algal bloom in the ocean below. This usually results in short and intense blooms when the sea ice melts. Arctic species show adaptations to such a production regime, usually because they are able to eat and put on a lot of weight in the short periods where there is food access, and then live on stored fat in meager times. But what’s that got to do with the kibble used for coal transportation in Longyearbyen in the past?


Stories from Rijpfjorden 3: Monster!

30 October 2018

Fortunately, it is no bigger than 5–6 cm; otherwise it would have been a really scary sight. It is found mostly throughout the whole Arctic, and is a species we count as an indicator of cold water masses. And for all the smaller organisms, such as Calanus finmarchicus and Calanus glacialis, it is a ferocious monster!


Stories from Rijpfjorden 2: A time witness from a bygone era

18 September 2018

Rijpfjorden not only holds a very special place in the story of how the weather station Haudegen housed the last armed German soldiers towards the end of World War II. It is also home to a much older and equally important story – a story that stretches several thousand years back in time and has not yet been really told. This is a story told by the “cod lake” (Torskevatnet).


Stories from Rijpfjorden 1: A unique place of great importance to our understanding of the Arctic

13 September 2018

Rijpfjorden is a unique place. On 4 September 1945, the last armed German soldiers in Europe surrendered there. 6000 years ago, blue mussels grew on the shore, and in the 1990s cod was caught in a lake that has since been called the “cod lake”. And since 2006 we have used Rijpfjorden as a large and natural climate laboratory.



The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
E-mail: /
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454


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