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Year: 2019
Project manager: Angelika Renner
Project code: 42018

WHALE investigates the physical, chemical and biogeochemical environment of Kaldfjorden. This northern Norwegian fjord has recently experienced massive winter herring abundances and high numbers of whales with large effects on the local fisheries, aquaculture industry and tourism. However, the impact on the fjord ecosystem is more difficult to assess as baseline measurements of the fjord environment are missing. In the first two project years, we started filling this gap by conducting monthly surveys of hydrography and water column chemistry in the fjord. Water samples are analysed for potential changes in oxygen availability, nutrients, and carbonate chemistry following the drastic increase in organic matter due to the massive herring abundance. Observations from two moored current meters together with opportunistic surveys will be used to assess water exchanges between different parts of the fjord and the ocean. Observations are supplemented with data from two hydrodynamic models that use different high-resolution model grids. Short-term sediment traps deployed monthly throughout winter and spring 2017/2018 provide information on the impact of the herring invasions on vertical biomass flux. Collaboration with two Fram Centre projects (weShare and Effects) and the NFR project JellyFarm ensures an integrated approach to investigating the physical-biological-human coupling in this fjord system.

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