“Just one more sample!”

Janne Søreide is known for her constant search for innovative data collection methods and tireless work ethic. She effortlessly transitions from fieldwork to winning at Trappers trail to conducting lab experiments. As Janne turns fifty, we want to take this opportunity to honor our esteemed colleague.

But first, a bit of background history: her passion for dog sledding and nature led her to Longyearbyen in the mid-90s, where she guided long-distance trips with Greenland dogs.

Her passion for dogs also led her to meet her life partner, Tommy Jordbrudal, who moved to the island soon after her. They were from the same city and had mutual friends who thought they would perfectly match each other. And their friends were right: Janne and Tommy became an item. 

The couple spent a few years with family and education on the mainland. She did her Ph.D. in marine biology at the University of Tromsø, and at the same time, she devoted herself to dog sledding. She has raced professionally and has, among other things, participated in Finnmarksløpet several times.

However, the longing for Svalbard was persistent, and in 2007, she took her “pack” back to the upper north and a career at UNIS.

Academic superwoman

She made a name for herself in academia mainly because of her enormous productivity and capacity, and the superlatives from friends and colleagues of the talented woman from Kragerø in Norway are many.

“There is something safe and sound about Janne”, says Cecilie Quillfeldt

Colleague Cecilie Quillfeldt describes her as professionally skilled, with many large projects on her CV.

“Janne has put UNIS on the map regarding long-time monitoring of the ecosystem in the Barents Sea. She has a problem-solving mentality, is creative, and sees the possibilities for UNIS and the department; at the same time, she also takes excellent care of colleagues and students. You feel seen and heard, and there is something safe and sound about Janne,” says Quillfeldt.

Her Ph.D. students Rebecca Duncan and Vanessa Pitusi agree.

“Janne is a supportive and hard-working supervisor who has given her students a wealth of experience, inspiration, and opportunities over many years. She facilitates students’ research ideas and has an incredible way of making the seemingly impossible possible. She is a great mentor, juggling being a woman in science, running a business, and being a mother. We know Janne by the phrase “just one more sample!” as she always manages to squeeze the most out of fieldwork and life.”, they say in a comment.

The ecology of the sea

Department leader in Arctic Biology describes her in a positive manner.

“Janne is often experienced as a mini-tornado moving along the biology corridor, gathering up everything along the way and constantly spitting out projects and students. Her enthusiasm and passion for her Calanus and teaching is impossible not to be affected by and Janne has an impressive research net of friends and colleagues stretching long beyond UNIS. Janne remains an appreciated and committed member of the AB department now who is a pleasure to work alongside.”, says Dr. Stephen Coulson in a comment.

Janne participates in several research projects such as ACCES – Arctic and FACE-IT, where they aim to do long-time monitoring of the environmental pressure in Arctic Ecosystems and the impact of cryosphere reduction on biodiversity. In addition, she is part of the Nansen Legacy – a large interdisciplinary collaborative project between various institutions and disciplines.

We need to understand the connections between warmer seas and changes in biodiversity, but marine invertebrates are challenging to research and create public interest in. The tiny zooplankton that Janne investigates are at the bottom of the food web and are essential for seabirds, fish, and marine mammals. Changes in diversity can alter the basis of life for both us and life at sea.

Colleague Anna Vader also praises her commitment. “Janne has a work capacity like no other and is always full of new project ideas. She always wants to take “one more test” and goes to great lengths to make this happen for herself and on behalf of others. She is a stand-up person who sees solutions, not problems. She is fearless and likes to try new methods and disciplines. She says Janne is genuinely curious about life at sea, with an enthusiasm that rubs off on students and colleagues.”

The biology department wishes to thank Janne for her efforts and looks forward to a continuous collaboration in the future! 

Arctic Biology Projects