Fjord systems act like miniature oceans where the semi-enclosed character of the marine basins scales down oceanographic processes. Investigations of water, deposits, and life in fjords results in high resolution signals of recent and historic climate and environmental change. Due to this detailed documentation, fjords serve as archives of historic environmental change.
The research group works with measuring and interpreting hydrographic time series of water temperature, oxygen, salinity, and turbidity. A main objective is detecting the influence of the increasing use of hydro power on fjord hydrography since the 1960s.
To trace human induced and natural environmental change, the group investigates oxic and anoxic fjord and harbour sediments for abiotic and biotic parameters, including micro-organisms and geochemical analyses. Tracing sources includes also inorganic and organic pollutants, and microplastic.
Another focus of the fjord research group is put on ecosystem analysis and biological effects of climate change and pollution. In addition, the group examines how terrestrial runoff, especially from glacier and snow melting, affects the circulation and the biochemistry of the fjord water mass.
During the later years, the fjord group mainly investigated tributary fjords of the Sognefjord. Recent studies include fjords on Svalbard and in Greenland. The investigations of the Sognefjord are part of environmental research projects and contribute to implement the EU Water Framework Directive.