Exciting projects available to future MSc-students in Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology

Photo: Ida-Helene Sivertsen


Have you ever wondered how arctic animals cope with climatic variability, extreme light-dark cycles and large seasonal fluctuations in food availability? Or which physiological adaptations aquatic birds and mammals have acquired in diving? By studying arctic animal physiology, you can find the answers as well as contribute to new science.

Our Research Group "Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology" at Dept of Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway offers research-based teaching in general and comparative physiology, both at the Bachelor, Master and PhD levels, in which students are also given exclusive opportunities for field experience in the Arctic.

Programme description and more for the MSc in Biology (Arctic Animal Physiology) at UiT - The Arctic University of Tromsø can be found here.

Available MSc projects
Below is a list of exciting topics / projects available for future MSc-students in our Research Group

  • Seasonal control of smoltification in Atlantic salmon (Hazlerigg, Jørgensen)
  • Fasting without being hungry; neuroendocrine mechanisms governing winter anorexia in the anadromous Arctic charr (Jørgensen)​
  • Seasonal control of appetite and food intake in Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Wagner) or reindeer (Wagner, Tyler, Hazlerigg)
  • Molecular photoperiodic readout in Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Wagner) or reindeer (Wagner, Hazlerigg)
  • Circadian timing of food intake in reindeer or Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Wagner, Hazlerigg)
  • Peripheral clocks in reindeer (Wagner)
  • Sleep in reindeer or seals (Wagner, Folkow)
  • Seasonal control of metabolism in Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Wagner, Folkow)
  • Effects of immune challenges in winter adapted Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Wagner, Nord, Folkow)
  • Milk composition and daily mass increase of lactating harp- and hooded seal pups in an unstable environment – the pack ice of the Greenland Sea (Nordøy)
  • Validation of the tritiated water method for determining body composition in adult harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) (Nordøy)
Temperature regulation
  • Role of nasal / respiratory heat exchange for body heat and water conservation in Svalbard ptarmigan (Folkow)
  • Insulating properties of ptarmigan plumage - species/sub-species and seasonal differences (Folkow)
Diving physiology
  • Brain capillary density in the harp and hooded seal brain (Folkow)
  • Mitochondrial densities in neurons and glia cells in the hooded seal (Folkow)

For more info contact:
Prof. Lars P. Folkow lars.folkow@uit.no
Prof. David Hazlerigg david.hazlerigg@uit.no
Prof. Even H. Jørgensen even.jorgensen@uit.no
Prof. Erling S. Nordøy erling.nordoy@uit.no
Prof. Monica A. Sundset monica.a.sundset@uit.no 
Associate professor II Gabriela Wagner gabriela.wagner@uit.no
Ongoing MSc Projects
  • Chiara Ciccone - Brain capillary density in diving species (L.P. Folkow, S. Geiseler)
  • Aleksander Malde - Diving development and behaviour in Harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) weanlings from the Greenland Sea Stock (L.P. Folkow, E.S. Nordøy, M.E. Biuw)
  • Greg Ashton - Harp seals – using a shrimp trawl as a restaurant (L.P. Folkow, M-A Blanchet, R. Larsen)
  • Judith Ullmann - The respiratory physiology of the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus). Total lung capacity, anatomical dead space, and ventilatory response to exercise and diving. (Supervisors: Lars P. Folkow, Martin Biuw, Mario Acquarone, Marie-Anne Blanchet)
  • Vebjørn Jacobsen Melum – Central appetite regulation in Svalbard ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborea) (Gabi Wagner)
  • Leo Rescia – Peripheral clocks in reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus) (Gabi Wagner)
  • Bjørn Ellingsen – Immune competence and disease resistance in salt vs. light stimulated smolts (Even Jørgensen)
  • Daniel Engen Lauritsen – Adaptations in the endocrine gut-brain axis during smolting, and appetite after seawater transfer in salt vs. light stimulated smolts (Even Jørgensen)
  • Pernille Meyer – Identification of seasonal changes in the diet of the Svalbard Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) and validation of DNA metabarcoding as a tool for diet analysis (Supervisors: Galina Gusarova, Stefaniya Kamenova, Anne K. Brysting, Monica A. Sundset, Lars Folkow). Pernille is a MSc student at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo - doing parts of her project with us in Tromsø.

List of previous MSc theses from our group can be found here