Expedition Svalbard

Another expedition to Spitsbergen took place in the summer of 2022: from 13 to 22 July, seven WUR researchers participated in the major international scientific SEES expedition, organized by Dutch researchers. SEES stands for Scientific Expedition Edgeøya Spitsbergen. The fifty scientists traveled with the MV Ortelius to the uninhabited island of Edgeøya, located on the eastern side of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Observing climate change was the goal of SEES-2022. A similar expedition took place in 2015.

Martine Van den Heuvel-Greve, Hans Verdaat, Joep de Leeuw, Sophie Brasseur, Suse Kühn and Nathalie Steins were on board from Wageningen Marine Research. In addition, Nico van den Brink from Wageningen University participated in this expedition. The aim of the fieldwork for the WUR researchers is:

  • do basic monitoring of what lives in the water along the coast;
  • learn about the food of walruses and birds;
  • conducting counts of seabirds and animals;
  • measuring mercury pollution in soil and grass;
  • study interaction between scientists and tourists who are also on board.

- Blogs from previous expeditions

  • August 20, 2018
    The top of the world
    This summer, again two expeditions will go to Svalbard. The aim of the fieldwork is to characterize the beaches around Svalbard and to determine to what extent these beaches can be a landing spot for alien marine species. Follow the blog of Wageningen Marine Research!
  • July 25, 2017
    How much mercury do we find in bottom-dwelling organisms of the Arctic fjord?
    After a short and beautiful flight over the glaciers to the research station Ny-Ålesund, in the northwest of Svalbard, we settled in our house, one of the yellow houses of the Dutch Arctic station. We were happy to find out that all our research equipment had arrived safely, so we could move into our ecotox lab straight away. For the next day we had already booked the Teisten work boat, so everything needed to be prepared for a first sampling day out on the water.
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  • February 3, 2016
    Guest blog Arctic: Sketching with sunlight by Udo Prinsen
    Guest Blog by artist Udo Prinsen, who made very special pictures during the SEES expedition to Svalbard with "solargraphy". He describes the work of the scientists and adds unique images to the stories. In solargraphy, solar tracks can be directly recorded through a lensless pin-hole camera and ‘written’ on to light sensitive paper. The images in this project have been exposed from several hours to just over 2 months and a few as long as 6 months. In June 2016, an exhibit will be on display in the City Hall in the centre of Utrecht. view_Additional information
  • September 3, 2015
    Blog Expedition Svalbard: Counting seabirds and cetaceans from the bow
    During the SEES expedition to Svalbard, almost continuously seabirds and marine mammals were counted from the box on the front deck of research vessel Ortelius. Researcher Steve Geelhoed reports in a blog how the counting is done.
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  • September 7, 2015
    Blog Expedition Svalbard: Effects of pollution from ballast water on plankton
    During the SEES expedition to Svalbard, researcher Andrea Sneekes gathered zooplankton to investigate the effect of chemicals in ballast water on these microscopic organisms.
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  • August 24, 2015
    Blog Expedition Svalbard: The work has started!
    After we left Longyearbyen on Wednesday 19 August 2015 we started our work straight away. We set up our lab on board together with our colleagues of the NIOZ. We now have 4 lab tables with a designated wet and dry work space.
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  • August 19, 2015
    Blog Expedition Svalbard: We started our expedition!
    Early in the morning we, the eight scientists of IMARES, gathered at Schiphol airport on Monday 17 August 2015. We were not the only ones. More brightly blue coloured expedition coats were spotted at the airport. Around twenty fellow expeditioners were on the same flight, travelling from Oslo to Longyearbyen, the capital of Spitsbergen. Prior to and during the flights we got acquainted and exchanged research ideas and plans. What an enthusiastic group and this way we already started our expedition!
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  • May 18, 2015
    All hands on deck! - Expedition vessel is being prepared
    The expedition vessel that will bring the researchers to Svalbard, the Ortelius, is currently docked in the harbour of Hansweert, a small village in the south western part of the Netherlands. There is a lot of buzz in the harbour with work men, trucks riding in and out, and continuous work meetings on board. This is all needed to prepare the vessel for the upcoming summer season in the Arctic.
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  • May 11, 2015
    Marine biologists are preparing for the expedition to Svalbard
    Preparations are being made for the expedition to Svalbard that will take place in the summer. In April 2015, the marine biologists of IMARES prepared some elements of the expedition, such as research planning, fieldwork locations, workwear and permits.
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