(Marine Animal Ranging Assessment Model Barents Sea)

In support to the oil and gas industry during activities in the Barents Sea the project provides a comprehensive description of the presence and movement of vulnerable species in the region using a combination of advanced habitat and agent based modelling.

Project description

Ecosystem-based management of human activities depends on knowledge of the distribution of vulnerable species on the one hand and of information of effects of stressors on marine life on the other. Yet, in many cases, this information is not readily available for animals that are free-ranging, such as seabirds and marine mammals. This uncertainty makes it difficult for the oil and gas industry to plan their activities in an environmentally sound manner.

This project will develop a software tool (MARAMBS) to describe and explain the presence and movement patterns of the most vulnerable marine species (marine mammals and birds) in the Barents Sea. The tool will be delivered as an online risk analysis software tool for the industry to use when planning activities in the Barents Sea. It is based on cutting edge technology such as dynamic habitat models that are describing the relationship between occurrence of marine life and environmental variables.

Agent based modelling is used to investigate species movement. The area of focus for this project is the Barents Sea with special attention to the ice edge. The project will make use of available information gained by several Norwegian academic institutes but will analyse it in innovative ways in a model that is ideally suited for de-risking Norwegian oil and gas industry.

The MARAMBS model will help close a gap of knowledge on the movement and presence of relevant species of concern in the Barents Sea and how they react to oil spills and underwater noise. This increased knowledge can be used to contribute to environmentally sound exploration and production activities in the Barents Sea and is thus anchored in national strategies and other framework directives (EU) for the protection of the Arctic. These strategies are also at the heart of the PETROMAKS2 programme, which aims at the development of environmentally sustainable technologies.


MARAMBS online risk assessment tool


The project is funded partly by the industry and partly by the Norwegian Research Council.