The waters off Lofoten, Vesterålen and Troms and the heavily populated Guandong region, with several big cities, are characterized as high-productive marine areas on the shelf and continental slopes that lead down to the deep sea. Both areas have traditional fisheries with great importance for the local population and the regions, and large local, regional and international maritime traffic. The South China Sea and the waters outside Northern Norway are affected by climate change and potential pollution and noise from maritime traffic, fisheries and harvesting on several trophic levels, petroleum activity, and in addition, shelf areas outside China are affected by pollution from the big cities.
Meso-scale eddies outside Lofoten were described in the Carta Marina as early as 1693, and are well known by local fishermen. These eddy structures are typical of the marine systems both in the South China Sea and in the waters outside Northern Norway. Both areas have a typical bloom system of phytoplankton and an effective lipid-based (marine fat) transport of energy through the ecosystem via herbivorous zooplankton (Calanus and krill) to fish, mammals and seabirds.
In STRESSOR we will study the physical conditions in the ocean and how the eddy formation affects the distribution of nutrients, the biological processes associated with phytoplankton dynamics, shoals and swarm formation of small crustaceans (structure of zooplankton) and the energy transfer in the ecosystem. All of these processes are related to natural and anthropogenic stressors.
Both in the waters outside Northern Norway and in the South China Sea, we will use research vessels with the most modern equipment. In addition, we will use autonomous platforms (gliders) equipped with newly developed echo ounders for studies of zooplankton and fish larvae in the upper water layers, and gliders that descend from the surface to 1000 m with instruments to study ocean current, temperature and salinity of the eddies.