New El Dorado for Arctic explorers

The world's northernmost marine research laboratory is inaugurated

The new marine research laboratory © AWI
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In Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen, Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik will inaugurate today the world's northernmost marine research laboratory. "This is a great day for Kings Bay AS and Arctic research, as we are now so far that even the last and important science area has its facility, " said Knut M. Ore, chairman of Kings Bay AS, a Norwegian state-owned company. which provides the infrastructure at the research site Ny-Ålesund.

Spitsbergen is one of the northernmost archipelagos in the Arctic. The former mining town of Ny-Ålesund on the west coast is today an international center of modern Arctic research and environmental monitoring. A total of eight nations permanently represented in Ny-Ålesund with their research stations were involved in the planning of the marine laboratory. Following the laying of the foundation stone in June 2004, a laboratory dedicated to biological research was built in a construction period of only one year. It is the latest building to complete the arctic research site Ny-Ålesund.

Researchers from all over the world expected

Each year, researchers from around 20 nations use the ideal conditions in Ny-Ålesund to link biological research with Arctic atmosphere and geology research. This makes the site ideally suited to track global environmental change and its effects.

Since 1988, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research have been working in Ny-Ålesund. In August 1991, the German research station "Koldewey" was inaugurated.

Since 2003, the Alfred Wegener Institute has been cooperating with the French polar research institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV) in Ny-Ålesund on a cooperative research base. With more than ten years of research experience in Ny-Ålesund, the marine biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute assisted in the planning and construction of the new laboratory as scientific partners. display

The Marine Research Laboratory provides scientists with several laboratories with marine-specific equipment. These include reservoirs with direct fresh water supply from the fjord, several heat and cold rooms and a scientific dive center equipped with its own pressure chamber. The lab has long been on the wishlist of the Arctic researchers and now with its high technical standard is waiting for the use of oceanographers from all over the world.

(idw - Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 01.06.2005 - DLO)