The spring bloom of phytoplankton at the Bear Island transect in 2008 was within the “normal” period of the spring bloom and started in the end of April. In addition to available nutrients the onset of the spring bloom depends heavily on factors such as stratification and light.
In 2008 the average zooplankton biomass was below the long-term mean. However, the average value for 2008 is based on fewer stations than covered the year before. In the Russian sector alone the average biomass in 2008 was considerably higher than what was observed in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea.
Reductions in zooplankton biomass in the center and western parts of the area were probably influenced by oceanographic factors and predation from fish, in particular capelin.
The aggregations of juvenile euphausiids found north of 78ºN in 2008 and high biomass of krill in the north-west and the south-eastern parts of the Barents Sea, support the notion that krill is expanding their distributional range in the Barents Sea.
The high zooplankton biomass core found in the Russian sector seems to be beyond reach of the polar cod, which has its main distribution further north. This is an additional feature suggesting a higher zooplankton survival rate in this particular eastern region, probably favouring a high overwintering stock that could support a high local production in 2009.