The project is focusing on comprehensive studies of physical environment in West Spitsbergen waters, which is of vital importance for understanding local marine ecosystem structure and functioning. Firstly, estimation of inter-annual variability of hydrog raphic/thermohaline characteristics in western Spitsbergen fjords (Grønfjorden/Isfjorden/Kongsfjorden) area will be done from historical data in order to understand variability and to put recent anomalous warm conditions into context. Secondly, during yea rs 2009 and 2010 a number of field observations will be carried out for overall description of physical environment in the area under study. A special emphasis will be put on investigation of seawater optical properties. A combination of in situ data with Remote Sensing and FerryBox data will provide an opportunity for investigating linkages between physical conditions (hydrography, marine optics) and primary production of phytoplankton in West Spitsbergen fjords and adjacent waters in Fram Strait, which is the main objective of the project.