Ægir-oppsummering dykk 2 og 3

Extreme research in the deep oceans

The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the world, yet they remain the least explored. K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research show us the hidden worlds located several thousand meters below the surface.

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We live in a time where the planet is still explored. Below the polar ice we find landscapes no one has laid their eyes on

Rolf Birger Pedersen, centre leader.

Several thousand meters below the surface of our oceans one can see things no one else has. The remotely operated underwater vehicle Ægir 600 is able to dive all the way down to depths of 6000 meters, where the water pressure is crushing.

Rolf Birger Pedersen
Jens Helleland Ådnanes

Rolf Birger Pedersen, centre leader.

"Ægir makes it possible for us to reach 99 per cent of the deep sea areas of the world. Endless and unsolved mysteries exist down there. On each research cruise we discover new species and observe phenomena unseen by human eyes," says Professor Rolf Birger Pedersen, centre leader of K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research. 

The facts on Ægir 6000

The dicovery of Loki's castle

Between the arctic islands Svalbard and Jan Mayen, at dephts of 2300 meters, lies an area which proves Norway is a volcanic country. Vent chimneys on the ocean floor let out mineral rich water at temperatures of 320 degrees Celsius, spurted out as a result of sea water and magma meeting two kilometers below the ocean floor

Like Iceland, Norway is a volcanic country; the difference is that our volcanos are below water.

Loki's Castle was discovered by UiB scientists in 2008, and has been explored severeal times since. Until 2017, researchers at Centre for Geobiology were the foremost explorers of the deep sea at UiB. Since then, the centre has moved on as K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research.

"This is Norway in the making, in the melting pot, so to say. What we have on dry land is the old Norway - this is the new," says Professor Pedersen.

Watch one of the deep sea dives:

Extreme animals in an extreme environment

In the deep, in an extraordinary geothermal area, the researchers have made great discoveries: new organisms and large metal deposits, such as lead, silver copper and zink. The animals living at these depths live off the energy in the hot water, a process called chemosynthesis - unlike the photosynthesis which demands light.

These species can be of interest in order to develop new pharmaceuticals, a process called bioprospecting. Living in extreme conditions create extreme abilities in the animals. One example is the proteins in the animals, that can withstain much higher temperatures than normal. 

Senter for geobiologi

Photo from a dive in Loki's Castle in 2013.

Broadcasting from the deep 

In the summer of 2017, Ægir went on new dives in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea. During previous research cruises, the submarine has broadcast video footgage to the crew on the research vessel. Powerful torches and a top-of-the-line camera are necessary to see anything in the darkness of these depths. 

The researchers at K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research want as many as possible to join them in their explorations. Research and knowledge is to be shared. 

The facts on K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research

In order to make the images from the deep sea available to more people, they were broadcast via communication sattelite, and published live on Facebook. Several thousand viewers got to see something they had never seen before. 

After taking several samples and deploying measuring instruments, the research cruise was finalised in the fjord outside Bergen. Once again, Ægir dove into the water, this time to honour one of his less successful predecessors. The submarine "The Nautilus" was laid to rest at the bottom of the fjord after a quite unsuccessful attempt at crossing the North Pole below the ice in 1931. 

UTRANGERT UBÅT: Med denne gebrekkelige farkosten ville den australske eventyreren George Hubert Wilkins beseire polisen.
W. Giertsens Skibshandel, eies av Billedsamlingen, UiB

"The Nautilus" was named after Captain Nemo's submarine in the novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea".

A race under the polar ice

The ambitions from the "Nautilus"-expedition live on. The difference is that modern technology makes it possible to explore below the ice. Centre leader Pedersen is of the firm belief that researchers from Bergen will be the first to explore the world below the ice cap. 

"We were the first to explore the Norwegian Sea with ROVs. Our biggest ambition is to be the first below the ice in the Arctic Sea. Som e reseachers have tried before, but have ran into huge problems since their gear could not conquer the harsh environment. Together with The Institute of Marine Research, we have made plans for many years on how to operate "Ægir-6000" Norway's newest ice breaker. The research vessel "Crown Prince Haakon", together with Ægir, will be a key in solving the polar ice-code. Our equipment and knowledge will make this possible," says Pedersen.

Blekkspruten Dumbo

The octopus Dumbo (Cirroteuthis Muelleri) lives 2000 meters below the surface. Its name comes from the large fins, which resemble elephant ears.