Back to Norway…

Hey everyone, I haven’t posted on this for 2 months, which is kinda ridiculous, but read on for an update on everything I’ve been up to!!

The last time I posted I was on my way back to Quebec after having spent christmas and new year in Scotland. I was back in Quebec for less than a week, before flying with my buddy Moritz right back across the Atlantic, this time to Norway…

From the 20th to 30th January 2013, I had the pleasure of participating in the ‘Arctic Frontiers PhD Student Workshop’, which took place between Tromso and the Lofoten Islands (Norway), and constituted a PhD course at the University of Tromso.

Young Scientist Forum 2013 group. Great fun!

The 7th Arctic Frontiers conference was entitled ‘Geopolitics and Marine Production in a Changing Arctic’. Through a 6-day programme of poster and oral presentations, the conference addressed the major issues that are affecting Arctic regions at this time, and will continue to do so in the years to come (

The first part of the conference (21st-22nd January) addressed geopolitical topics, such as expanding energy extraction, increasing maritime traffic, and military presence in the Arctic. Many of these issues are directly related to changes in the Arctic environment. Sea ice retreat, for example, is making it more possible to drill for oil and gas in remote areas. If extraction activities are to increase, there should be a large focus on environmental protection. There were some seriously big names at this, accompanied by tight security and hoarded by the media. Keynote speakers included Espen Barthe Eide, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs (replacement for the actual PM), who discussed the importance of Arctic regions for future society. Politics..

The Vice Admiral and Head of the Norwegian Joint HQ Brun-Hanssen talking about the future of Arctic military presence.

The science part began after that. I presented a talk entitled “The annual routine of a predatory Arctic chaetognath in a highly seasonal environment”, which received great responses. A poster I helped to prepare with my fellow PhD student Moritz Schmid entitled “In situ imaging of mesozooplankton in order to assess scale spatiotemporal variability” also won the first poster prize. Yeah, we’re good 😉

After the conference, we traveled to the Lofoten Islands for the rest of the workshop, where we learnt how to write research project proposals, and had a lot of fun. The views on the journey to Lofoten on the Hurtigruten coastal steamer were more than spectacular ( The workshop was a great success and I really enjoyed it!

Our ship to take us from Tromso to Lofoten: the Hurtigruten coastal steamer.

After the course, we flew back to Canada, and I went to Toronto for a few days to visit my buddy Kai, and see the good old CN Tower again! Started from the bottom, now we here…

Oh and Kai introduced me to this TV show on HBO called “Game of Thrones”. Just watch the first episode of that and for sure it won’t be your last.

Now I’m back in Quebec again, and I’ve been working hard on submitting my second paper for publication. This one’s on the feeding habits of chaetognaths during the Arctic polar night. The winter darkness probably makes it difficult for many animals to find food. Some animals (like the one on your right) go into hibernation because the energy they would expend looking for food would be too high, and they would die of exhaustion. But we show that chaetognaths continue to search for and consume prey during the winter on Svalbard. That’s a pretty nice observation, and one which will lead to further studies of their ecological role in the winter.

So it’s been a busy few months, but this is truly the life of an Arctic PhD student, and I’m really happy to be where I am. Plus, summer’s coming!!!

I hope 2013 is going well for you,

Jordan x

Comments (16)
  • David Stuart Dahlgren

    March 12, 2013

    Great to hear that you’re doing so well, Jordan!
    Hope you enjoyed Norway (but next time – make the detour to Sweden hehe)

    Keep up the good work!

  • Jordan

    March 14, 2013

    Hi David,
    good to hear from you and thanks for your kind words.
    I have every intention to visit Sweden, at some point! There’s some people there I need to catch up with, including you!
    I hope your studies are going well,

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