A surprising amount of life

Curious polar bear examines a flag. Photo: Åsa Lindgren.

Despite our northerly position at 89°N, we have a surprising amount of life around us. In the water and under the ice, there is algae, and when it comes to birds, we’ve had both black guillemots and northern fulmars visiting. A bearded seal visits us almost daily, and on two occasions we’ve had walrus visits. The walrus spent a few minutes investigating the research instruments in the water as well as attacking the floating buoys attached to the equipment. But then it got tired and left us, and we haven’t seen it anymore.

In the evening the day before yesterday, a young polar bear came across the ice at the stern of the ship. However, the encounter went quiet and still, and we could get all the researchers on board. On the ice the team from Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) has a large measurement buoy. The polar bear found it very interesting and spent a long time investigating all the cables and instruments. The red flags that mark our equipment and walkways were particularly interesting.

Otherwise, research is in full swing and we are now in the middle of the period the researchers are especially interested in – the days when the water is freezing to ice, to then break up and freeze again.


Åsa Lindgren

Swedish Polar Research Secretariat

Walrus examining sledge
Walrus examining sledge. Photo: Karin Alfredsson
Walrus attacking buoy
Walrus attacking buoy. Photo: Karin Alfredsson

Publishing date: 28 Aug 2018