Svalbard birds and mammals, by Dutch artist

This October 2017 video is by Dutch artist Erik van Ommen, travelling along the west coast of Spitsbergen island. There, he depicted Arctic terns, little auks and other birds. He saw a killer whale, walruses and a polar bear.

Young female Arctic fox’s Svalbard-Canada journey

This video says about itself:

Arctic Fox mother and young kits. The video was taken by Barry Miller on a Cheeseman’s Ecology Safari to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago. The foxes were found off a fiord just northeast of Longyearbyen. The trip was late June – early July 2018.

From Polar Research, June 2019, by Eva Fuglei and Arnaud Tarroux:

Arctic fox dispersal from Svalbard to Canada: one female’s long run across sea ice


We report the first satellite tracking of natal dispersal by an Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) between continents and High-Arctic ecosystems.

A young female left Spitsbergen (Svalbard Archipelago, Norway) on 26 March 2018 and reached Ellesmere IslandNew Arctic fungi species discovered, Nunavut, Canada, 76 days later, after travelling a cumulative distance of 3506 km, bringing her ca. 1789 km away (straight-line distance) from her natal area. The total cumulative distance travelled during the entire tracking period, starting when she left her natal area on 1 March 2018 and ending when she settled on Ellesmere Island on 1 July 2018, was 4415 km.

This is among the longest dispersal events ever recorded for an Arctic fox. Crossing extensive stretches of sea ice and glaciers, the female moved at an average rate of 46.3 km/day ± 41.1 SD. The maximum movement rate was 155 km/day and occurred on the ice sheet in northern Greenland. This is the fastest movement rate recorded for this species. The northernmost location recorded was on the sea ice off northern Greenland at a latitude of 84.7°N.

The Arctic fox was of the blue colour morph typical for coastal environments, where Arctic foxes are adapted to food webs without lemmings but with substantial inputs of marine food resources.

The Arctic fox settled on Ellesmere Island in a food web with lemmings, thereby switching ecosystems. Our observation supports evidence of gene flow across Arctic regions, including those seasonally bridged by sea ice, found in studies of the circumpolar genetic structure of Arctic fox populations.

The Arctic fox's long journey, from Polar Research

Eventually, the fox’s journey continued beyond Ellesmere Island. Her collar stopped working on 9 February 2019. So, we don’t know what happened to her after that.

See also here.

Kittiwake colony in Svalbard

In this 15 July 2018 Dutch video, Arctic biologist Maarten Loonen is at a kittiwake nesting colony near Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard.

He tells that, because of the birds’ dung, spoonwort plants grow here. In the seventeenth century, spoonwort was important for whalers then in Svalbard, as its vitamin C content helped against scorbut.

Svalbard seed vault update

This video says about itself:

Inside the Svalbard Seed Vault

4 May 2016

A rare look inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault which is closed ~350 days a year

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Norwegian government is investing more than 10 million euros in a renovation of the World Seed Bank on Spitsbergen island. About 900,000 seeds are stored in the bunker, so that the DNA is retained in the event of a major natural disaster or nuclear disaster. The seeds are important for the food supply chain on earth.

The world seed bank is 120 meters deep in a mountain near Longyearbyen town, where the temperature is brought to -18 degrees Celsius.

The money includes a separate room for electrical appliances that generate heat, so that the bunker itself remains as cold as possible. There will also be a new watertight entrance. Late 2016 showed that the current entrance was leaking, when the permafrost melted unexpectedly. …

The seeds from the database were used for the first time three years ago. During the civil war in Syria, thousands of seeds were stored and secured from that country, which were later brought back when the situation became more peaceful.