Several days ago a cycle of Norwegian-Russian scientific research expeditions to the Arctic came to an end. The expeditions were organised on the scientific research vessels Helmer Hanssen (August) and G. O. Sars (September) in the framework of the international program “Joint Norwegian-Russian environmental status 2013, Barents Sea Ecosystem”.
A postgraduate of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Functional Histology of the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology, Mr. Alexey Golikov, took part in both expeditions as a specialist in zoobenthos.
“Mr. Golikov’s task was to study biodiversity of benthic native and invasive organisms (natural invaders) of the Arctic ecosystem under changing climate conditions,” said Mr. Rushan Sabirov, the head of the Department and his research supervisor. “He collected unique materials relating to the Arctic fauna. It was a part of a complex monitoring aimed at developing a model of efficient management of extremely vulnerable Arctic ecosystems under the conditions of their resources development.”
The international ecosystem mapping has been being done since 2002 in the Barents Sea and adjacent Arctic water areas. Its objective is a comprehensive study of all Arctic environment components, both biotic and abiotic. These ecosystem studies are of great importance as the Barents Sea is a terminal point of warm Atlantic water mass transformation, where weather of the European part of Russia is actually formed and where global climatic changes manifest themselves most vividly. Furthermore, significant offshore petroleum and gas reserves are concentrated there.
Mr. Golikov has been participating in analogous expeditions since 2009. The mapping is organised in August – September, with emphasis placed on microorganisms. He told us that he had loved the sea since childhood. Now he is writing his dissertation devoted to the Arctic and namely to study of structural changes in Arctic ecosystems by the example of certain model taxonomical groups. This year the expedition managed to come close to 82 degrees north latitude – it is only 900 km far from the North Pole! “There was snow here in the previous year,” said Mr. Golikov, “but this year no ice can be seen in the northern direction even in binoculars.”
There has been a Norwegian-Russian digest published on the basis of expedition results since 2001. Kazan University has been participating in this activity since 2008.
And namely at that time participation of employees, postgraduates and students of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Functional Histology in Arctic study programs became a tradition. The Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology of KFU has cooperation agreements concluded with Arctic Research Institute of Sea Fishery and Oceanography (Murmansk) and Murmansk Marine Biological Institute of Kola Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science. Joint research results are presented at international conferences devoted to the Arctic nature and published in peer-reviewed magazines.