The Hjort Centre will address the important questions about the ocean

The Hjort Centre will address the important questions about the ocean

The world´s population is expected to increase dramatically towards 2015. Thus, it is of great concern that the current global production of food does not cope with the predicted increase. Even though approximately half of the biological production takes place in the oceans, most of our food are currently originating from land-based farming. In the future, we need to utilize more of our marine living resources, which must occur in a sustainable manner. This is one of the major issues the Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics will address. The Hjort Centre, explained simply, will explore how a larger portion of our nutrients can be obtained sustainably from the oceans. To answer this question, we need more knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of the complex marine ecosystems in our surrounding seas, as well as in distant waters.

Global challenges, global solutions

The social mission is well defined, but there exist no simple solution to these challenges. The changes in the oceans are independent of maritime borders. Fish and other marine organisms follow the currents, and migrate between different economic zones. Biological, physical and chemical parameters interact in a varied and complex interplay, while antrophogenic activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture, climate changes, industries and environmental impacts, continuously influence the marine environment. No single discipline, research community, or a nation by itself, can fully explain the changes that currently occur in the oceans, nor predict future changes and consequences. The Hjort Centre has established an extensive international network of collaborators to compare different marine ecosystems, and will seek to find global solutions.

Where to fish, and what to catch?

We have two alternatives when increasing the exploitation of marine living resources: We can start to utilize organisms from lower trophic levels, or we can better manage stocks that we are currently harvesting. At lower trophic levels, we find mesopelagic fish (small deepwater species as pearlsides and spotted lanternfish) and zooplankton. The volume of such species are large and the nutrition value very high. However, even though marine resources from lower trophic levels could provide us with feed, oil, and be a prospective human food source, it is necessary to obtain thorough knowledge of how marine ecosystems will respond to a commercial exploitation of such species.

Protect existing marine resources

The present commercial fishery include mainly top-predator species, and by catching more than 100 billion tons of fish yearly we are challenging a sustainable management of these resources. The Hjort Centre will implement new technology for monitoring, evaluating, and predicting the conditions of marine ecosystems. This will aid in understanding and predicting the observed variation in the occurrence of cod, herring, and other commercially important species. More knowledge of the ecosystem dynamics will thus aid the communication and advising of the fisheries. This will ensure an efficient management of existing fish stocks, and at the same time secure marine resources for future generations.

Consequences of climate changes

It has become evident that the oceans are significantly affected by anthropogenic activities. Naturally, this includes the harvesting of marine resources, but also indirect influence through global warming, ocean acidification, and eutrophication. The Hjort Centre will explore how the climate changes affect the marine biota, and will address three essential questions: Do species adapt by genetic adaptation or by changing habitat location, how fast do the changes occur, and how will this affect how humans administrate marine resources.


The Hjort Centre
• The Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics was officially opened on the 18th of Fefruary, 2014. • Johan Hjort was borne at this date in 1869 (-1948) and is considered a founding father of modern marine sciences. • Represents a network cluster consisting of the Institute of Marine Research, the University of Bergen, UNI Research and Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre. • The centre is organized as a formalized research program with extensive collaboration • The Centre is on a daily basis run by the Director Olav Sigurd Kjesbu, the administrative staff, and five ‘science motivators’ • The Centre is guided by a ’Local Scientific Panel’ consisting of senior researchers as well as an advisory ‘International Scientific Panel’


Olav Sigurd Kjesbu

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The Hjort Centre will address the important questions about the ocean utføres av Havforskningsinstituttet Uni Research University of Bergen NERSC

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