Journey with us to the ends of the world and discover the life of the northern seas! The Arctic belt is defined by an unimaginably cold conditions and dramatic changes between endless day and endless night. The environment at the poles are some of the harshest on the planet, yet life in the sea there has found a way to survive.
Warmer seas are defined by both their biodiversity and habitat diversity, while Arctic seas are more uniform and thus known for fewer species. However, these areas nevertheless support large numbers of fish and invertebrates thanks to a unique food web which is supported by an immensely large biomass of phytoplankton - microscopic algae invisible to the naked eye. The seemingly indestructible and untouchable frozen world of the Arctic is actually a fragile area susceptible to human influence. These northern seas are warming faster than any part of the Earth, and the world is already feeling the consequences.
You can find out how man is affecting the northern seas and what the natural features of the icy heart of the planet are in the exhibition ‘Northern Seas’.
MEET OUR INHABITANTS:
ATLANTIC WOLFFISH (Anarhichas lupus)
The sea wolf is recognisable by its gray-blue colour with transverse stripes along its entire body, a large head with a "blunt" nose and a mouth in which large and sharp teeth grow. These sharp teeth serve to break the shellfish and urchin bodies that they feed on, along with crustaceans and various types of echinoderm. They can grow up to 120 cm and weigh about 20 kilograms, and although they look a bit scary, wolffish are completely harmless to humans. According to research, the Atlantic wolffish is an endangered species with a high risk of extinction due to overfishing, accidental catches and habitat destruction. In just 20 years their numbers have dropped from 1,200 tonnes a year to 30 tonnes, and in the UK fishing has declined by 96% since 1889.
LUMPSUCKER (Cyclopterus lumpus)
The lumpsucker is a species of fish from the family Cyclopteridae (scorpaeniform) and the only member of the genus Cyclopterus. This species is an example of sexual dimorphism; females are larger than males. Males grow to 40 cm and females to 60 cm. The body is ball-shaped. Like all scorpaeniform fish, the abdominal fin is developed in the form of a clamping disc, which helps it cling to various substrates. To spawn, lumpsuckers have to migrate vertically down to 300 meters without a swim bladder. Fish that move vertically (mesopelagic species) must adapt to a large difference in temperature during migration. Such species have more DNA per cell than non-migratory species. The increased amount of DNA allows them to have multiple enzymatic systems that function at different temperatures.
ARCTIC COD (Eleginus nawaga)
Arctic cod is a relatively small species compared to other codfish (Gadiformes). Adult specimens reach 25-30 cm in length, but the White Sea specimens are slightly smaller (15-25 cm). They have a narrow and rounded body and a prominent lateral stripe. Their mouths are equipped with tiny and curved teeth. It inhabits the European Arctic, and sub-arctic waters of the Barents, White and Kara, Seas. It usually inhabits shallow areas along shorelines and near sea ice on the continental shelf. Arctic cod is one of the most important fish species in the world’s diet.