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.
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:
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 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.
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.
This 2015 video says about itself:
Daredevil Goslings Make a Terrifying Jump for Life
Greenland’s barnacle goslings undergo one of the most harrowing rites of passage of any creature on the planet. In order to reach the nourishing grassy plains below, the goslings must make a leap of faith and drop over 400ft from nests perched on towering cliff tops.
From Groningen university in the Netherlands:
Pollution poses threat to Arctic goose
Researchers show that growing up in polluted area in Svalbard causes severe stress
12 December 2018
Polluted air, water and land can have a far-reaching effect on animals in polar regions. An international team led by Isabella Scheiber, Maarten Loonen and Jan Komdeur from the University of Groningen and including researchers from the universities of Leipzig, Vienna and Wageningen and the University of Groningen Arctic Centre has shown that heavy metals in the ground in Svalbard affect the physiological processes of barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) and lead to stress. Their findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
At Ny-Ålesund mine, several disasters killed 71 miners while it was in operation from 1945 to 1954 and from 1960 to 1963.
Although the village was cleaned up, the area around the deserted mine, which is used as a grazing area by a population of barnacle geese, was not. Previous research by a team led by Maarten Loonen had already shown that high levels of heavy metals (trace elements) are still present in the area around the deserted mine. These can accumulate in the goose’s body as it grazes. It is known that pollution can affect animal behaviour, and in stressful situations, such as an encounter with a predator, the right behaviour can mean the difference between life and death. The researchers set out to discover the effect of heavy metals on the physiology and behaviour of barnacle goslings in acute stress situations.
The research team studied barnacle goslings that spent the first days of their lives grazing by the polluted mine or on clean grounds. They measured the level of a stress hormone in the goslings’ droppings and observed their response to a stress test that consisted of isolating the goslings from their families for a short period of time or limiting their freedom. The goslings that grazed by the polluted mine were more restless and had higher levels of the stress hormone in their blood than their siblings that had grazed in the clean areas.
This research shows that past pollution persists for a long period of time and can significantly affect an animal’s stress response. Jan Komdeur: ‘We were astounded because the goslings were exposed to the pollution for an extremely short period of time. However, this was during a critical phase in their development. The long-term effect of this early exposure to trace elements, on reproduction success and the survival of the barnacle goose for example, remains to be seen. In fragile ecosystems such as the polar regions, this effect could be crucial to the species.’
Publication: Scheiber, I.B.R., Weiß, B.M., de Jong, M.E., Braun, A., van den Brink, N.W., Loonen, M.J.J.E., Millesis, E. & Komdeur, J. – Stress behaviour and physiology of developing Arctic barnacle goslings (Branta leucopsis) is affected by legacy trace contaminants. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 285: 20181866. doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.1866.
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.
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.
From Groningen University in the Netherlands:
PhD defence Sandra Comis
Excavated Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century whalers’ clothing from Spitsbergen
15 November 2017
A series of archaeological excavations carried out by the Ar[c]tic Centre of the University of Groningen between 1979-1981 uncovered the remains of a Dutch whaling station on Spitsbergen. Hundreds of textile fragments were found in and around the houses and the blubber furnaces, that were exploited from 1614 to around 1600 [sic; 1660]. Amongst the finds were fragments of felt hats, jackets, breeches, stockings and mittens. The men evidently wore their normal winter clothing at work. The remains of textiles were also found in the graves of seven whalers who died during the overwintering attempt of 1634-1635.
In 1980, excavations were also conducted on the island Zeeuwse Uitkijk [now: Ytre Norskøya]. Here the graves of 50 whalers were investigated. The graves contained a total of 33 knitted caps, one fur-brimmed leather cap, eight jackets and four pairs of breeches, either complete or in fragments, as well as several stockings. On the basis of the clothing styles some of the graves can be dated to the period between 1650 to around 1750. This forms the largest collection of workmen’s clothing from this period in Europe.
Climate foiled Europeans’ early exploration of North America. ‘A Cold Welcome’ examines how the Little Ice Age and other factors shaped colonial history: here.