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Research groups

The Institute of Marine Research has 22 thematic research groups. The research and surveillance activities is organised in projects and carried out in the research groups.

Scientists and technical staff have their organisational “home” in the research groups. The research group’s main tasks are the basis for which personnel that works in the group.

Most of the research groups have employees working in the different geographical locations of the institute. Project groups are established with members from the different research groups.

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Benthic resources

The research group consists of ca. 35 scientists, technicians, PhD candidates and students working at the institute’s research stations in Tromsø, Bergen and Austevoll.


Demersal fish

The Demersal Fish Research Group (Bunnfisk in Norwegian) studies demersal (bottom dwelling) fish in all our marine areas, with the objective of maintaining and developing the IMR’s principal fields of competence for these fish.


Benthic communities

This research group works on the biology and distribution of species and communities associated to the seafloor, both in the deep sea and shallow waters. Mapping the distribution of species and habitats generates knowledge useful for management advice and sustainable use of the oceans and the coastal zone, as well as knowledge on species biology, ecology and effects of human influence.

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Deepwater and cartilaginous fish

The group focuses on harvestable deepwater species and ecosystems of the outer continental shelf and deep sea, and on cartilaginous fishes in all areas and depths.

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Animal welfare

IMR's Animal Welfare Research Group is responsible for building up research expertise and knowledge, and for conducting and communicating research that can provide a basis for advice for better animal welfare.

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Fish capture

Based on our knowledge of fish behaviour and fishing gear technology, the group supports the fisheries management authorities, the fishing industry and the Institute’s other groups by developing and adapting energy-efficient, environmentally and resource-friendly capture methods, and by developing improved methods for sampling marine organisms for resources studies

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Fisheries dynamics

Our research group studies are: Capture rates, effort and fleet development in commercial fisheries and tourist fishing.

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Seafood hazards

Our research contributes to increased knowledge on seafood and the environment through surveillance including mapping the occurrence and effects of pollutants in the ocean. Particularly, our research team investigates how changes in the climate could affect ocean health.

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Marine research in developing countries

The research group is developing competence, capacity and systems for marine research in countries that are in a developing phase. We provide knowledge about fish stocks, the marine environment and the state in tropical ecosystems in close cooperation with authorities and professionals in a number of countries in Africa and Asia. The main goal is to establish knowledge as a basis for good management.

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The Norwegian Marine Data Centre (NMD)

The Norwegian Marine Data Centre (NMD) at the Institute of Marine Research was established as a national data centre dedicated to the professional processing and long-term storage of marine environmental and fisheries data and production of data products.

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Oceanography and climate

This group monitors and does research on physical and climatic processes that affect marine ecosystems.

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Pelagic fish

In the Pelagic Fish Research Group, we work with fish that live in the pelagic zone of the open ocean. Some familiar and dear pelagic fish species are herring, mackerel, capelin and blue whiting, as well as, more exotic species such as bluefin tuna.



The Research Group is active in environmental monitoring and research, as it provides advice to the Norwegian Government on environmental issues associated with phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish eggs and fish larvae in our marine ecosystems. 

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Population genetics

Population genetics is the study of genetic variation within and among populations. Or put in an alternative manner, we apply molecular genetic markers to identify and quantify the evolutionary relationships among groups of individuals in time and space. 

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Reproduction and developmental biology

Overall strategy for the Reproduction and Developmental biology group is to solve and explore sustainability issues and production bottlenecks associated with reproduction and development in farmed fish.

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Seafood and nutrition

Seafood safety, and the relationship between seafood consumption and human health are important factors for knowledge-based advice. Our research contributes to increased knowledge concerning seafood and human health, and we provide updated data on the contents of nutrients and undesirable substances in seafood.

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Marine Mammals

The objective of the Marine mammals research group is to continue to develop methodology for, and to routinely update, the basis for provision of advice regarding the management of seals and whales (numbers, productive capacity, and ecological importance), concentrating on species that are harvested or that are important links in marine ecosystems.

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Pathogens and disease transfer

This research group takes a multidisciplinary approach to the better understanding of health in fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Immunology, microbiology, parasitology, molecular biology, physiology and pharmacology are all represented in the group. Health is a multidimensional concept.

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Ecosystem acoustics

This group works on methods and models for the collection of resource data, acoustics, observation platforms and technology and methods and protocols for the collection of relevant biological data (trawl sampling).

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Ecosystem processes

The goal of the group is to generate knowledge of distribution and trophic interactions, develop ecological methods and obtain knowledge of non-commercial species and indicators for marine ecosystem-based management.