Site details

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1 star - Not protected
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Sea-mouse - Aphrodita aculeata Linnaeus, 1758 Photo: H.P. Mannvik

Synoptic description of site:

Large area sampled annually by Akvaplan-niva since 1989, including regional reference stations (‘pristine’) and transects around petroleum installations.

Extensive description of site:

The study area is in open areas of the Norwegian part of the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. Depths vary between 60-400m and bottom sediments vary from silts to coarse sand. Northern areas contain moraine and drop-stones.

Habitats present:
Seagrass beds 

Description of fauna and flora:

The typically sand/mud dwelling bottom fauna has been extensively monitored since the late 1970s, but earlier records exist for fisheries and benthos. Coral reefs are found in the northern areas.

Human impact:

Parts of the area are subjected to low to moderate levels of local impact from oil and gas extraction and also bottom trawling.


Sea-going vessels with rudimentary laboratory facilities or fully equipped research vessels may be chartered from various shipping companies or Norwegian universities.

Available database and website:

The data are stored in a national database administered by the Norwegian oil and gas authorities (OLF). This data is available to researchers. Participating consultancy agencies keep their own databases.

Datasets covering this area:

Commitment and ongoing research:

There is an established national programme of biodiversity monitoring, which is carried out in each area at 3 year intervals. Nationally, approximately 500 stations are sampled annually by various consultancies. Accredited biodiversity monitoring is carried out by Akvaplan-niva and Det Norske Veritas, also Rogaland Research and Unifob.

Additional Information:

See covering letter for comments on interesting research oppurtunities in high-latitude Atlantic fjords exposed to Arctic surface conditions.