Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E9

The three challenges of researching the pelagic ecosystem

Höfundar / Authors: Anna Heiða Ólafsdóttir

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: Hafrannsóknastofnun (Marine and Freshwater Research Institute)

Kynnir / Presenter: Anna Heiða Ólafsdóttir

Researching the pelagic ecosystem forces you to work in a demanding environment as the ecosystem is large (million km2), often located far from land (hundreds of km), and unpredictable i.e. abrupt weather changes. The most common working platform is a research survey which uses an ocean-going vessel that is at least 60+ m long. There are three challenges when organizing a pelagic research survey: (i) it is expensive, average cost $40 000 USD per day, (ii) the logistics are complicated as there are usually many projects included in each survey, (iii) it is a dangerous and demanding work environment where surprises always happen. An example of a state of the art pelagic survey is the International Summer Survey in Nordic Seas (IESSNS), which collects data both for monitoring projects and for research projects. In IESSNS, the high cost is balanced by attaching as many projects, focusing on the pelagic environment, as possible to the survey. The complicated logistics are resolved by prioritizing the projects by importance, and then organize the survey according to project importance. We prepare for the demanding working environment by participating in safety training, and by tackling the surprises as they arise and carry on.