New Norwegian-Russian benthos cooperation Published: 28 April, 2006
THE Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Russian
Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO)
have initiated a joint three-year research programme on benthos in the Barents Sea, set to start this autumn at the joint ecosystem cruise. Russian scientists have a long tradition of studying bottom habitats in the Barents Sea, and this new programme will imply access for IMR researchers to valuable Russian time series results going back to 1926.
Echinoderms, such as sea cucumbers, sea stars and sea urchins, are part of the biodiversity of the Barents Sea benthic fauna.
The programme will have an ecosystem focus, the main goal being to map benthic species and communities in the Barents Sea and study the possible impact of: bottom trawling, climate changes, invasion species and gas and oil activities on bottom habitats.
In joint Norwegian-Russian ecosystem surveys, sampling and video monitoring will be used to map distribution, assessments will be made of benthic fauna by-catch in bottom trawling, and efforts will be made to improve the identification of benthic species in stomach content of cod and haddock.
The programme includes monitoring of king crab impact on hard and soft bottom communities in selected areas along the Norwegian and the Russian coastline. In addition, experimental cage studies, involving divers, will be carried out by PINRO scientists. These studies will start during a cruise in June, surveying bottom fauna with underwater video and photo.
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