Marine biologist Martine van den Heuvel-Greve from IMARES Wageningen UR talks about her research on possible effects of new activities in the Arctic. By developing new knowledge, she hopes to contribute to the international dialogue on how and where new activities can take place.
Expedition filmed by camera crew
These days the Arctic is often in the picture. Due to retreating sea ice space becomes available for new activities such as oil and gas, shipping and tourism. These activities offer new opportunities but also complex challenges such as the possible pressures on people and the environment. Not only oil and gas companies and environmental organizations but also researchers are active in this area. They examine the changing Arctic ecosystems and the way in which new activities influence these ecosystems. During an expedition to Spitsbergen in June 2013, the researchers were followed by a camera crew. The filming took place in the village of Ny-Ålesund, 1235 kilometres from the North Pole. Footage was also shot near Ny-Ålesund, including the beautiful Kongsfjorden and Blomstrand Glacier. This production has been realized thanks to the collaboration between the Maritime Campus Netherlands, the European Fund for Regional Development, TripleP@Sea, NHL University of Applied Sciences and IMARES Wageningen UR.
To realise the potential of opportunities for sustained Sustainable Arctic Development, Wageningen UR is taking the lead to build international alliances with industries, governments and NGOs.
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Wageningen UR and the Arctic
In the Arctic Programme of Wageningen UR research is performed into the identification, prioritization and reduction of potential pressures on people and the environment in the Arctic, as a result of new activities such as oil and gas drilling, shipping, tourism and fishing.
The programme is based on three pillars.
- The first pillar focuses on applied research projects. Seven projects have started with companies, environmental organizations, governments and research institutions.
- The second pillar consists of research by PhD students, who mainly do fundamental research on topics such as management and use of resources, climate change and innovative ways to measure the quality of the marine environment. Currently there are 6 PhD students, working at different chair groups of Wageningen University.
- The third pillar consists of education. Several courses have been provided to the Russian and Dutch business community. A guest lecture has been shared with the students of the minor oil and gas in Den Helder, the Netherlands and at the Applied University of Van Hall Larenstein.
The Arctic Programme is funded by the Maritime Campus Netherlands, the European Regional Development Fund, TripleP@Sea and involved stakeholders.