The ecosystem in Kongsfjorden is affected by both Atlantic and Arctic water and the species distribution of zooplankton can change each year. Since zooplankton has an essential role at the base of the Arctic food web, their distribution and abundance can serve as an indicator of higher trophic species distribution and even local climate. Autonomous vehicles with targeted sampling capabilities can yield high space–time resolution of the distribution of zooplankton and thus be an important part of environmental monitoring in the area.
NTNU has performed several research operations in Kongsfjorden, including experiments for targeted, adaptive sampling of phytoplankton, and sensing of zooplankton with echosounder and particle camera simultaneously. The aim of this project is to perform zooplankton adaptive sampling experiments in Kongsfjorden as a continuation of, addition to, and comparison to previous operations in the area. Additionally, we will perform joint experiments with researchers from KTH for simultaneous targeted sampling of phytoplankton and zooplankton.