The LMSU Arctic Marine Research Center think tank will lead R&D within the frames of the 2015 complex Arctic expedition on the White Sea, the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea. Relevant research topics will facilitate the effective and efficient solutions to the problems of the Arctic.
Assessing the Arctic coastline vulnerability towards human impact
Once oil is spilt, the nearshore and onshore zones are most vulnerable towards oil contamination. Potential risks can be reduced by allocating the areas of top-priority protection, utilizing environmental sensitivity maps as well.
Thus, the scientists have to split the West Arctic coast up into sectors nominally, according to their sensitivity towards oil impact. This facilitates defining the most vulnerable areas as well as the most contamination-resistant ones. Furthermore, it simplifies the choice among priorities during cleanup operations.
One of the expedition objectives is to generate a photo-based interactive map and work out coastline sensitivity database.
Marine and coastal ecosystem and arctic seas landform condition monitoring
Russia’s strategic interests in the Arctic bring up issues of preservation, sustainable utilization and reproduction of bio resources.
The expedition researchers will describe biodiversity and bioresources of the Russian Arctic shelf zone; assess their condition and observable changes under conditions of changeable climate and human impact.
The research will contribute to developing the Arctic marine flora and fauna analytical models. Moreover, the researchers can give recommendations on efficient and sustainable shelf seas bioresources utilization and work out environmentally safe gas and oilfield development procedures. Furthermore, researchers will be able to forecast the changes of marine and near-shore ecosystems as a result of climate warming, more frequent natural methane outbursts, water and residues acidulation as well as human impact.
West Arctic biodiversity research
It is imperative for scientists to research ecosystems structure; first, we need to highlight specially protected natural areas and sites of special scientific interest, as the current knowledge on such territories is insufficient.
Thus, one of the objectives is to research the Western Arctic bioresources condition and to define the role of each species in the ecosystem. We subsequently plan to publish a Russian West Arctic biodiversity complex atlas.
Oil oxidizing microorganism activity research
The 2015 expedition route will feature both hydrocarbon-polluted areas and environmentally pristine sea areas. Expedition microbiologists plan to collect more than 400 samples of seawater and other coastline material. At a later laboratory stage, certain low temperature-resistant microorganisms will be extracted from the samples. These strains will be utilized for oil spill cleanups in the northern seas.
The scientists will analyze seawater samples using contemporary molecular methods. The obtained data will facilitate the assessment of the natural bacterial hydrocarbon pollution cleanup speed as well as rates of restoration after technogenic pollution. This is a pathbreaking bacterial monitoring of the north seas, as it includes an extraordinary amount of samples and contemporary molecular analysis methods.
Testing new methods of water areas remote sensing
It is a known fact that such traditional methods of the Arctic waters research as descriptive routes, sampling, and diving operations are complicated and frequently not available for the researchers. Contemporary equipment and machinery can provide a complex description of the waters condition, including description of topography, geological and geomorphological aspects, hydrometeorological, biotical and ecological conditions of soil as well as its condition and properties.