The aim of the project is to identify and map the bottom fauna in the Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, - and the world! Despite an advanced knowledge of fjord topology and hydrography, a similar detailed overview over habitats and fauna is lacking.
In oceanographic terms, fjords can be considered miniature oceans with nutritional and physical gradients from their outer to inner parts, and from surface to basin depths. As an iconic giant of a fjord, the Sognefjord unites a number of these gradients through its extreme length and thus is well suited to reveal specific nature-types and appurtenant fauna that may be connected to particular environmental settings along these gradients.
By mapping benthic species composition, using both classical sampling methodology and visual information from video-recorder equipped ROV’s , we want to characterize the benthic nature types of the fjord. Preliminary results from a pilot studies have already revealed a large population of the rare barnacle, Anelasma squalicola, a possible endemic population of the shrimp Pasiphaea tarda , and the first finding of the gastropod Colobocephalus costellatus since
1870, where it was described by Michael Sars.
These findings demonstrate that the fauna of large fjords, like the Sognefjord, is still far from being described and most likely contains undocumented species.
Project leader: Henrik Glenner, University of Bergen
Project period: April 2014 - June 2016
Collaborators: Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), University Museum of Bergen, Institute of Marine Research