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Samples and species

Every year, the Environmental Specimen Bank collects and freezes samples that represents the environmental status of Norwegian nature.

The samples are systematically collected every year from biota (e.g. mammals, birds, eggs, fish, mosses) and from abiota (air and sewage sludge). At the same time, information about the surrounding environment during the sampling is collected and stored.

We sample now to be able to use future analytical methods and preferred choices of sampling material. Hence, several types of sample matrix is collected from each animal species.

The species, sampling matrices and locations included in the Environmental Specimen Bank are carefully evaluated by the CIENS-institutes Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and Norwegian Institute for Air Research, together with Akvaplan-niva AS, Norwegian Polar Institute, Institute of Marine Research and Norwegian Environmental Agency.

The sampling is conducted by the CIENS institutes, Norwegian Polar Institute and the Institute of Marine Research.

The Environmental Specimen Bank contains the following sampling matrices and species:

Wastewater sludge
Air (particles and gas)

Terrestrial mammals: Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Freshwater fish: Trout (Salmo trutta), Vendace (Coregonus albula), Char (Salvelinus alpinus) and Perch (Perca fluviatilis)
Terrestrial birds: Merlin (Falco columbarius), Hooded crow (Corvus cornix), Common Gull/Mew Gull (Larus canus) and Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) represents omnivore birds in urban terrestrial foodwebs.
Other species: Moss (Hylocomium splendens)

Marine mammals: Ringed seal (Phoca hispida), Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and Otter (Lutra lutra)
Marine fish: Cod (Gadus morhua)
Marine birds: Herring gull (Larus argentatus), European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Common eider (Somateria mollissima), White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
Other species: Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)

From 2018, food web samples are collected in freshwater (Lake Mjøsa) and marine (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard). Species composition will depend on which species that are present from each year.

Illustrations: Anne Vollaug

You can find the procedures for collection of samples here.

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