Operative Habitat Mapping and Monitoring in the Polar Night
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The Polar Night has long been regarded as a period of no biological activity. As a logical consequence, environmental management has mainly been neglected in this period. We will use the Northguider accident in December 2018 as a case study for the need to prioritize operative habitat mapping and monitoring to provide a sufficiently knowledge-based environmental operative management. After the ship ran ashore in a remote location in the northern part of Svalbard, the entire crew was safely rescued and airlifted back to Longyearbyen within hours. The ship, however, remained, potentially posing a threat to wildlife – not only wildlife that is expected to return in spring but also for the many organisms that we now know are present and active during the Polar Night. There is, however, still a strong need to provide necessary understanding of the dynamic marine biodiversity at the sea surface, water column, and seafloor during the Polar Night, focusing on the threats for ecosystems and habitats.