Site details

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Flag of Norway
3 stars - Protections status intended and preparatory planning imminent
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Bjørnøya (Bear Island). Photo: Bjørn Gulliksen

Synoptic description of site:

Transect of stations from the North-cape in Norway to the South-cape of Spitsbergen. These to be sampled for benthic fauna.

Extensive description of site:

The transect runs from the southern tip of Svalbard (Sørkapp) to the northernmost point of mainland Norway (Nordkapp), traversing Bear Island, which has conservation status. The transect covers the tidal zone to more than 400 m.

Habitats present:
Littoral XX
Seagrass beds 

Description of fauna and flora:

The most common biotopes found in the Barents Sea are represented (soft bottom to rock). The dominant water masses are Atlantic, with Arctic water input to the north.

Human impact:

There are no direct human inputs to the area, but bottom trawling is carried out in some places.


Research vessels and laboratories are available from the University of Tromsø and the University Courses on Svalbard (UNIS). Benthic laboratories are also available at Akvaplan-niva, Polar Environmental Centre.

Available database and website:

Biodiversity data are available from the University of Tromsø, UNIS, Akvaplan-niva (including Russian data), Norwegian Institute for Fisheries Research, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NP).

Datasets covering this area:

Commitment and ongoing research:

Benthic programmes are carried out by the University of Tromsø, UNIS, Akvaplan-niva and the Norwegian Institute for Fisheries Research. NINA and NP focus on seabirds and marine mammals. The recent conservation status of Bear Island will lead to a fixed biodiversity monitoring programme there.

Additional Information:

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