Polar Research 2023-06-05T14:44:33-07:00 Helle V. Goldman Open Journal Systems <p><em>Polar Research</em> is the international, peer-reviewed journal of the Norwegian Polar Institute. The scope of&nbsp;<em>Polar Research</em>&nbsp;encompasses research in all scientific disciplines relevant to the polar regions. These include, but are not limited to, the subfields of biology, ecology, geology, oceanography, glaciology and atmospheric science. Submissions from the social sciences and those focusing on polar management and policy issues are welcome. Contributions about Antarctica are particularly encouraged.</p> An Arctic expedition: a supposedly useful thing I’ll never do again 2023-06-05T14:44:33-07:00 Maud van Soest <p>The aim of the second Scientific Expedition Edgeøya Spitsbergen (SEES), which took place from 13 to 22 July 2022, was to study the consequences of climate warming in the High Arctic, building on ecological data gathered by the Dutch Arctic Station on Edgeøya between 1968 and 1987 and the first SEES expedition in 2015. In this Perspective essay, I ponder the actual purpose of SEES 2022, in which I participated as an early-career research scientist. The research activities were very limited and climate change was named as the restricting factor. Fifty researchers were accompanied by 50 tourists, journalists and policymakers. The choice made by the expedition leaders and funders to go for a tourist vessel was mostly financial, and the difference in media output versus expected research output substantial, which points to paradoxes related to research, publicity, politics and tourism in the Arctic.</p> 2023-06-05T14:43:40-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Maud van Soest The Queen of the Arctic: Louise Arner Boyd 2023-05-19T02:39:17-07:00 Elisabeth Isaksson Anka Ryall <p>Louise Boyd (1887–1972) was a female pioneer in Arctic research whose legacy includes the exploration of north-east Greenland. In this Perspective piece, we use a broad interdisciplinary approach to investigate her career as a photographer and expedition leader. When documenting glacial retreat during the 1930s, she was at the forefront of the development of glaciology as a research discipline. Without family obligations and with seemingly inexhaustible financial resources, she used Arctic exploration to create an independent and self-defined life for herself.</p> 2023-05-18T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Elisabeth Isaksson, Anka Ryall Local temperature near native vascular plants in the Argentine Islands–Kyiv Peninsula region, Antarctic Peninsula: annual variability and approximation using standard meteorological measurements 2023-05-15T04:07:47-07:00 Mykhailo V. Savenets Larysa Pysarenko Svitlana Krakovska Ivan Parnikoza Denis Pishniak <p>We describe the main features of LT variability that influence native vascular plants in the Antarctic and examine the relationship between the temperature regime at the micro-level and meteorological conditions at the macro-level. We used a period of over a year, during which 37 specialized mini-loggers recorded LT near vascular plants in the Argentine Islands–Kyiv Peninsula region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Rather than measuring standard air or soil temperature, these loggers detect the temperature near the ground, in the microhabitats that harbour vascular plants. On a daily scale, LT correlates with standard (2-m) air temperature, with the values higher at rock slopes than at rock terraces and ledges. A moderate correlation was found with wind and radiation parameters. Seasonality accounted for 75–93% of total LT variability, with better results on open rock terraces compared to protected areas and clefts. LT day-to-day variability during the cold season is mostly responsible for differences in&nbsp;<em>R</em><sup>2</sup>&nbsp;of the annual cycle. We estimated daily mean LT using regression dependencies from 2-m air temperature and wind speed measured at a nearby meteorological station.&nbsp;<em>R</em><sup>2</sup>&nbsp;for these statistical models varies from 0.46 to 0.68. However, they underestimate the observed LT. LT measured on rock slopes showed better modelling results with air temperature, whereas wind speed was a better predictor on rock ledges. This study contributes to our understanding of the micro-scale temperature regime that influences native vascular plants and provides a method for its rough approximation using standard meteorological parameters.</p> 2023-05-12T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Mykhailo V. Savenets, Larysa Pysarenko, Svitlana Krakovska, Ivan Parnikoza, Denis Pishniak Carbon exchange and primary production in a High-Arctic peatland in Svalbard 2023-03-31T00:13:13-07:00 Takayuki Nakatsubo Mitsuru Hirota Ayaka W. Kishimoto-Mo Noriko Oura Masaki Uchida <p>Moss tundra with a thick peat layer dominated by bryophytes is one of the most important ecosystems in the High Arctic of Svalbard, but little is known about the carbon dynamics of moss tundra. Here, we estimated the net primary production (NPP) and net ecosystem production (NEP) of moss tundra on Brøggerhalvøya (Brøgger Peninsula) of north-western Svalbard (79°N). The net photosynthetic and respiration rates of the two dominant moss species,&nbsp;<em>Calliergon richardsonii</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Tomenthypnum nitens</em>, were measured under laboratory conditions. On the basis of the photosynthetic and respiration characteristics and climatic data, we estimated the cumulative NPP of the dominant moss species during the growing season to be 143–207 gC m<sup>-2</sup>. Net CO<sub>2</sub>&nbsp;exchange, which was determined by subtracting the respiration of the brown moss layer from NPP, was similar to that estimated using field gas flux measurements. The field measurements indicated that methane emissions contributed little to carbon flow. The NEP estimated in this study was much larger than the long-term carbon accumulation rate reported in a previous study. These data suggest that a significant amount of fixed carbon was lost from the peat layer or that carbon accumulation has recently increased. The NPP and NEP values of the moss tundra are larger than those reported for other vegetation types in this area, suggesting that moss tundra is an active site with high rates of carbon fixation.</p> 2023-03-30T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Takayuki Nakatsubo, Mitsuru Hirota, Ayaka W. Kishimoto-Mo, Noriko Oura, Masaki Uchida Perceptions of decision-makers about a potential forum of cooperation in the eastern part of the North American Arctic 2023-03-16T14:00:57-07:00 Mathieu Landriault Jean-François Savard Anna Soer <p>Cooperation in the Arctic region has been fruitful in the past few decades, generating several multilateral organizations and forums covering the entire circumpolar North. In many cases, forums were created to serve as catalysts, bringing together decision-makers from different backgrounds in a conference setting to promote dialogue and the exchange of ideas. To enquire about the possibility of creating a forum of cooperation in the eastern North American Arctic, a total of five governmental officials from Canada, Denmark, Nunavut, Québec and Greenland, and one elected representative from Greenland were interviewed with the same set of five questions. The governmental officials were in senior positions at the main department focusing on foreign affairs in their respective jurisdictions. Most thought that a new forum of cooperation in the region would be highly desirable, on the grounds of shared interests, common identity and cultural affinities. Consensual positions were also found regarding the central role that civil society would play in a new cooperative venue and on sub-national governments assuming a leading role to spearhead the initiative. Following these interviews, it is difficult to pinpoint one government that could alone spearhead this new forum of cooperation. However, the governments of Nunavut and Greenland were the most enthusiastic about such a new regional forum. Given Greenland’s drive to complete independence, this type of forum could prove to be a statement of diplomatic motivation and ambition, tilting toward proto-diplomacy and an international policy that prepares the terrain for complete autonomy.</p> 2023-03-16T13:54:06-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Mathieu Landriault, Jean-François Savard, Anna Soer Adult survival and annual movement patterns of common snipe in Iceland 2023-03-07T05:26:05-08:00 Aevar Petersen Sverrir Thorstensen Ib K. Petersen Scott W. Petrek Kane Brides Anna Calvert Mark L. Mallory Greg J. Robertson Sarah E. Gutowsky <p>The common snipe (<em>Gallinago gallinago</em>) is a wader that breeds in subarctic regions from Iceland to Russia, and for which global populations are in decline. We studied snipe breeding in western Iceland between 1998 and 2020, locating nests and ringing birds annually. In 2019 and 2020, we deployed geolocators on nesting adults to estimate the timing of their annual migration and the location of overwintering areas. Birds moved principally between breeding locations in Iceland to wintering areas in Ireland, although some birds may winter farther north. We also found that apparent annual adult survival averaged 66%, but was higher in years with warmer, wetter winters. Given the similarity of our survival estimates to those from snipe elsewhere, we suggest that adult survival is unlikely a major contributor to declining populations, and other factors like habitat loss may be of more concern.</p> 2023-03-07T05:24:58-08:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Aevar Petersen, Sverrir Thorstensen, Ib K. Petersen, Scott W. Petrek, Kane Brides, Anna Calvert, Mark L. Mallory, Greg J. Robertson, Sarah E. Gutowsky An observation of white whale (<em>Delphinapterus leucas</em>) mating behaviour in the wild 2023-03-08T05:54:43-08:00 Christian Lydersen Kerstin Langenberger Kit M. Kovacs <p>Herein we describe mating behaviour observed in a group of 20 white whales in Svalbard, Norway. A single female was the centre of attention during the 45-minute encounter, which was observed, photographed and videotaped at an ice edge in Storfjorden in June 2022. Several males surrounded the female and vigorously herded her from all sides. The female spy-hopped regularly, and sometimes her whole body was pushed out of the water by the other animals. High tail-lifts and tail-slapping were frequently performed by males, and erect penises were observed many times. Trumpet calls were also heard. At one point, three males with erect penises pressed themselves against the female simultaneously. The female was bleeding from wounds on her head and neck that were seemingly inflicted by bites from the other whales. She was also bleeding from her genital slit. A single copulation was seen at the surface, but it is likely that multiple males mated successfully with the female during the encounter. The event was more boisterous and violent than what has been described in captive white whales. We cannot assess how representative this observation is of typical reproductive behaviour for the species. But the encounter was remarkably similar to what has been described for several species of bottlenose dolphins that have male alliances that consort with individual females, restricting the female’s escape and keeping her accessible to mating only by members of the group.</p> 2023-03-08T05:53:08-08:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Christian Lydersen, Kerstin Langenberger, Kit M. Kovacs Personal submersibles offer novel ecological research access to Antarctic waters: an example, with observations of the rarely encountered scyphozoan <em>Stygiomedusa gigantea</em> 2023-01-30T09:27:27-08:00 Daniel M. Moore Anna Elina Flink Eva Prendergast Antony Gilbert <p>Underwater biological surveys have been conducted around the Antarctic continent for several decades, and our knowledge of the species present in the shallow waters (&lt;50 m) is reasonably comprehensive. However, the waters below 50 m remain underexplored on the account of difficulty of access, financial barriers and relatively few operational platforms capable of deployment to such depths. Here, we demonstrate that personal submersibles, now increasingly deployed by the expedition cruise industry, can be vessels of opportunity for biological research in the polar regions. We describe direct observations of the rarely encountered scyphozoan&nbsp;<em>Stygiomedusa gigantea</em>&nbsp;at water depths of 80–280 m in Antarctic Peninsula coastal waters as an example of the potential that personal submersibles present for the scientific community, and we outline possible research avenues for utilizing these platforms in the future.</p> 2023-01-30T09:14:45-08:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Daniel M. Moore, Anna Elina Flink, Eva Prendergast, Antony Gilbert Possible signs of recovery of the nearly extirpated Spitsbergen bowhead whales: calves observed in east Greenland 2023-01-30T09:25:35-08:00 Outi M. Tervo Marie Louis Mikkel-Holger S. Sinding Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen Rikke G. Hansen <p>The Spitsbergen population of bowhead whales (<em>Balaena mysticetus</em>) was harvested to near extinction during the whaling era. Here, we show possible signs of recovery of the population by reporting observations of two calves in the Scoresby Sund polynya in East Greenland on 2 and 4 May 2022, and it is the first observation of this kind in this area since the early 1900s.</p> 2023-01-30T09:24:29-08:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Outi M. Tervo, Marie Louis, Mikkel-Holger S. Sinding, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, Rikke G. Hansen Review of Expedition relics from High Arctic Greenland—eight decades of exploration history told through 102 objects, by Peter R. Dawes (2023). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press. 500 pp. ISBN 987 87 635 46867. 2023-05-17T12:04:29-07:00 Per Kyrre Reymert 2023-05-17T11:57:56-07:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Per Kyrre Reymert Review of Thinking like an iceberg, by Olivier Remaud (2022). Stephen Muecke, trans. Medford, MA: Polity. 180 pp. ISBN 978-1-509-55148-4. 2023-05-17T12:03:38-07:00 Isabelle Gapp 2023-01-19T08:30:46-08:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Isabelle Gapp