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  • underwater observatory

    OceanLab Node 4: Marine Observatory

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The OceanLab Marine Observatory provides a unique platform for users to develop and test new measurement and monitoring technology, as well as establishing key observational sites that will enable long-term insight into the environmental status of Trondheimsfjord.

New global trends in oceanographic research, combined with the tighter financial constraints on industry, have created a rapidly growing demand for more cost-effective marine environmental research.

The establishment of OceanLab provides a dynamic field laboratory that encourage collaboration across the national research communities and scientific disciplines in technology development for environmental monitoring.

If you have questions, or would like to make use of the equipment in the lab then please contact and see our locations and equipment here on the webpage



Two buoys will soon be visible in the Trondheim fjord in two separate locations, as part of a new National Research Infrastructure (OceanLab). One large buoy is located just west of Munkholmen, and one smaller buoy will be located near Røberget (Ingdalen, outside Orkland kommune).

The buoys that collect continuous measurements of ocean environmental data. This is used for many applications including: improving environmental understanding, providing sites for in-situ lab experiments, testing of ocean sensing technology, education and science communication and supporting local environmental policymaking.

The Munkholmen site is the primary platform for testing new instrumentation and monitoring the effect of the Nidelven river on the fjord.

The Ingdalen site will be primarily used for monitoring inflowing water from the Atlantic into the rest of the fjord, helping us to understand the transport of nutrients and biomass through this area.

Both platforms will support communication to the subsea facility and the test area for autonomous vessels.

Data will be made available to anyone who would like it as soon as it is collected (via a digital platform). We will make as much as possible free. Interested parties can also rent space on the buoys for setting out their own sensors (coupled to the power and telemetry system).

The Ingdalen site provides critical information about how water from the ocean comes in and out of the fjord. The location by Munkholmen is an area where a lot of other research activities are planned, so it will provide data and communication gateways for these activities and operations in the Trondheim harbour. This location also has easy access from the city via a small boat, which allows us to use this site as a floating laboratory.

The Ingdalen buoy is 2 m in diameter and about 4 m above the sea surface. The Munkholmen buoy is 5.2m in diameter and about 5 m above the sea surface. They are compliant with international IALA navigation standards, which means they are yellow in colour with a light and AIS tracking.

Ingdalen has one anchor between the buoy and the seabed (at 530m depth). Munkholmen has three anchors between the buoy and the seabed (at about 80m depth).

The OceanLab Observatory is planned to be operational for at least 10 years from 2023.

The footprint of the anchors is very small (equivalent to a boat that is anchored). Materials and fuels should not enter or degrade into the environment, and the new OceanLab workboat will have an electric motor.

The buoys conform to the requirements given by The Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) and Miljødirektoratet in relation to environmental impacts.

Our goal is that the research supported by the OceanLab Observatory will contribute to better understanding of how society and industry can contribute to increasing the health of the ocean environment.