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Cruise reports

No. 36 (2022): Seasonal cruise Q4 2019: Cruise report

Seasonal cruise Q4 2019 : Cruise Report

October 31, 2022


This cruise was the second of in total four seasonal cruises with RV Kronprins Haakon in 2019/20 focusing on biology in the project Arven etter Nansen (AeN). This seasonal cruise was named Q4 (Q4= 4th quarter of the year) investigating in total 17 stations of the established AeN transect along 34 E in the Northern Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic Basin from 76 to 82°N (see Fig. 1 below). The cruise addressed objectives of the research foci in RF1 on Physical drivers, RF2 on Human drivers, RF3 on the living Barents Sea and RA-C Technology and method development, and collected a multitude of data along the Nansen Legacy transect which was ice covered except the southernmost station P1. In addition to in situ sampling, on board experiments were conducted to quantify biological processes, rates and interactions that will also be important feeds into modeling work and projections in RF4 The future Barents Sea.

The cruise took a variety of continuous ship measurements (Weather station, EK80, EM203, ADCP, thermosalinograph, pCO2 underway) as well as station measurements such as CTD with water samples, biological sampling of the benthos (box corer, benthic trawl), water column (multinet, MIK net, macrozooplankton trawl and many other smaller nets) and sea ice (snow, ice cores, water just underneath sea ice). In addition, experimental work (respiration, grazing and egg production) was conducted in the ship’s laboratories. The chemistry team onboard measured oxygen, nutrients and pH from standard depths on most CTD stations and sea ice samples.

The cruise started in Longyearbyen and ended in Tromsø (28.11.-17.12.2019). The sampling began at the deep (>3000 m) northernmost station of the transect, Stn. P7, and continued along the southward transect until station P1, in open water and Atlantic dominated water masses. During the expedition the Barents Sea was characterized by a relatively large sea ice cover with consolidated sea ice all the way from P7 to P2. The Polar Front was located just north of P1. All process stations were sampled (P7-P1) as well as two ice stations: one close to P7 ad one close to P5. At the southernmost station P1, stormy weather challenged sampling, but most tasks were in the end accomplished except of deploying the box corer, sediment trap and the AUV. These operations were considered too challenging due to strong drift and ship movement, and it was not safe to conduct small boat operations. Challenges with the box corer was also experienced at the deep station P7 due to technical issues. In the end, most work was accomplished despite challenging weather, sea ice conditions and some technical issues making this cruise successful in gaining new important knowledge about the Northern Barents Sea in the polar night season which is extremely poorly studied. The overall high biological activity and biomass at this time of the year, November-December, was surprising for most of us.


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  3. Morison, F., Menden-Deuer, S. (2017) Doing more with less? Balancing sampling resolution and effort in measurements of protistan growth and grazing-rates. Limnology Oceanography: Methods 15, 794–809. DOI:
  4. The Nansen Legacy (2020). Sampling Protocols: Version 5. The Nansen Legacy Report Series13/2020. DOI: DOI: