In a new feature, our Biotechnology undergraduate team members have each chosen one of the ReelLife Science topics, and researched and written a short article. We hope you enjoy them, learn a little from them and perhaps get some inspiration for your videos! First up is Alex Corrigan with “Life on the Edge in the Polar North”.
Svalbard is an archipelago of three main islands, Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edegøya in the Arctic Ocean far to the North of mainland Norway. These beautiful but isolated islands are sparsely populated by humans, but are home to a wide variety of specialised animals who eke out a living in the harsh polar climate of the Arctic Circle.
The islands of Svalbard encompass a landscape of high mountain ranges, deep valleys and fjords, with glaciers and ice-flows, which cover up to 60% of the terrain. The archipelago is under the grip of the harsh Arctic Climate , with its midnight sun and total darkness in the winter months. Average winter temperatures can dip as low as -18°C with summers only reaching a frosty 2-4°C.
It’s hard to imagine life flourishing in these conditions, yet it does. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many species of seabirds and also hosts larger creatures such as reindeer, Arctic foxes, polar bears and marine mammals such as walruses and seals. There are no less than seven national parks in Svalbard to protect the largely untouched, yet fragile, ecosystems and habitats. Continue reading “HABITATS: “Life on the Edge in the Polar North” by Alex Corrigan”