Last week a seasonal study in Ramfjorden started with the first cruise. Ramfjord is a seasonally ice covered fjord near Tromsø and will be sampled every month from September throughout the polar night until sea ice formation and the light returns. The first sampling was done by Tobias Vonnahme with great support from Bernhard Shcartmüller and the skipper and crew of Hyas.
Our new Master student Rose M Bank from the Univeristy in Odense (Danmark) will study potentially important carbon fixation pathways on the base of the foodweb. In the absence of light phototrophic algae are lacking the light energy needed for CO2 fixation. For surviving the long time with no light we hypothesize that organic matter uptake may allow the algae to survive while waiting for the sun to return. Another process that may become important in the polar night is nitrification. With this process some bacteria and archaea can fix CO2, not with the energy of light, but with the energy released by oxidizing ammonium or nitrite, which may become more concentrated after upwelling in autumn and reduced uptake by microalgae.
Besides Bernhard Schartmüller will help us with the fate of light over the polar night and Line Klausen will study the diversity of microalgae over the polar night for her Bachelor thesis.