Biodiversity Monitoring & Protection

Maritime activities and human populations located within the Arctic coastal zone place pressure on Arctic biodiversity. Akvaplan-niva is a key provider of services in biodiversity mapping and monitoring with specialized skills and experience in marine and coastal environments.

Our specialists work with key authorities and organisations to improve guidelines, regulations, conservation strategies for the protection of biodiversity.

Biodiversity Monitoring Surveys

Documenting changes in biodiversity through surveys is often a requirement of the permitting process for coastal and freshwater development projects. Akvaplan-niva performs coastal marine and freshwater mapping surveys to support the permitting process providing a full analysis of key biodiversity elements and changes over time from pre- to post- project completion. All surveys are performed in accordance with national guidelines presented in Handbook 19-2001 and later revisions to the handbook. These surveys include cataloguing introduced and/or endangered species (red list).

National Biodiversity Mapping

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) was enacted to protect the biodiversity of the planet. The principles of the convention are set forth by the Norwegian government in position papers on sustainable development (1996-1997) and biodiversity (2000-2001). These principles are implemented through a national biodiversity mapping and monitoring program. Akvaplan-niva supports this program through biodiversity mapping of priority habitats in northern areas. These are kelp forests, eel grass meadows and littoral soft bottom areas.

Development of Guidelines, Regulations, Conservation Strategies

Relying on our broad experience with environmental monitoring in tropical, temperate and arctic environments, we assist authorities in developing guidelines and regulations for biodiversity monitoring in coastal and freshwater ecosystems. Akvaplan-niva also assists with the development of new assessment techniques, conservation strategies and the harmonization of procedures for international coastal zone management planning.

Akvaplan-niva in Action

Mapping of nature types in Balsfjord, Troms. Tidal soft bottom flat with Zostera marina (eel grass) <span>Image by Rune Palerud                </span>
Collecting blue mussels from Tromsø Harbour. The mussels were analyzed for contaminant levels and used to assess the environmental health status of the harbour. <span>Image by Guttorm Christensen</span>
Akvaplan-niva and the Norwegian Institute of Water Research investigated biodiversity of the coastal kelp forest in Northern Norway, an important habitat for many organisms. The shoreline shown here is habitat for a few algae species who are able to survive  the harsh environmental conditions. This area of the shoreline is dominated by the macroalgae Laminaria species. <span>Image by Barbara Vögele</span>
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For More Information

Guttorm Christensen
Tromsø, Norway

Related Reading

National monitoring of marine biodiversity in the marine waters and the Arctic.

Oug, E. and Naustvoll, L.J. (editors) (2008)

66 p. Prepared for DN 2008-2.

Akvaplan-niva’s data contributions to the national biodiversity mapping and monitoring program may be viewed at:

The Arctic Seas Biodiversity Project: