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Hurtigruten Group

Scientific Collaborations

Through our onboard science programme we have collaborated with a number of organisations around the world to support vital research taking place in some of the world's most off-the-beaten-track locations.

Universidad de Los Andes

In January 2022, Professor Susan Caballero-Gaitan joined MS Fram on a voyage to Antarctica to support her study into the 'migratory patterns of humpback whales in the Colombian Pacific and the Antarctic Peninsula'.

With the help of our guests and the expedition team onboard, Susan was able to capture a wide variety of data including non-lethal skin biopsy samples, environmental DNA (eDNA), recordings of whale songs, and identification photos around the peninsula.

This hands-on experience for our guests helped to drive the success of this collaboration, and in January 2023, Susan will be joining MS Fridtjof Nansen to collect further data.

Western Washington University

In February 2022, Dr. Alia Khan joined the crew onboard MS Roald Amundsen on its winter sailings down to Antarctica. Working in collaboration with the expedition team onboard and the team on MS Fram, Dr. Khan was able to collect around 20 snow samples in Brown Station and Petermann Island that were melted and filtered before being transported back to Western Washington University.

The study focused on algal pigments situated within the sample with a secondary study analysing the dissolved organic carbon found within each sample. Throughout her time with us, guests were kept up to date with the research project, and findings were left onboard for the remaining 2022-2023 Antarctic season

Penguin Watch

Penguin Watch is the brainchild of Tom Hart a penguinologist based out of the University of Oxford. The organisation is focused on researching the declining penguin population, due to the impact of climate change, active fisheries, and pollution around Antarctica.

The team joined the crew onboard MS Fram to conduct maintenance to cameras situated at several locations around Antarctica including Damoy Point, Danco Island, and Orne Harbour. Due to favourable weather conditions, the team was able to undertake drone surveys at several spots collecting even more valuable data. Whilst onboard we encourage guests to help scientists monitor penguin populations by counting penguins across various images and videos. 

The research and data are used to help inform government policy and educate the public on the impact of climate change. In 2018, the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands used Penguin Watch data to add additional protections to the Marine Protected Area in place around the Islands. As the success of Penguin Watch continues to grow, subsequent projects Seabird Watch, and Seal Watch have been launched.

California Ocean Alliance

World-renowned whale researcher Ari Friedlaender and his team from the University of California Santa Cruz joined the crew onboard MS Roald Amundsen for a pilot study in February 2019.

As part of their expedition to Antarctica, the team was looking to gain a better understanding of the effects ship/boat noise levels have on the communication between marine mammals. Whilst onboard they were able to collect a number of biopsy samples and conduct body condition surveys using drones launched from the zodiacs.

Following the success of the initial pilot research mission, the California Ocean Alliance rejoined MS Roald Amundsen in early 2022. The team was able to collect over 25 hours of acoustic recordings, 35 morphometric body measurements were conducted using ariel drones and 11 biopsy samples were collected. All this data will be used to help further develop our understanding of these beautiful animals.

As a gesture of thanks the research team ran a series of lectures for our guests. This outreach helps to educate ways in which we can continue to share the waters around the Antarctic peninsula in harmony.


We assisted a research team from the Norwegian Polar Insitute, to set camp in Antarctica throughout the 2018 - 2019 season to study and develop a better understanding of krill predator behavior throughout the year.

With a focus on Chinstrap penguins, the team tagged a number of individuals to track their movements and foraging behaviour during the incubation, brood, and creche periods of the breeding cycle. Initial results found that behaviour varied between incubation, where individuals would travel 80-90km over a 2-3 day period, to brooding where penguins would spend 24 hours at sea covering an area of 20-30km.

Throughout their time onboard, NPI scientists shared their research and insights with guests providing a unique educational experience. The project was a complete success and has subsequently led to further studies into animal behaviour around the Antarctic peninsula.

Following the success of the NPI project, a joint research project was launched bringing together scientists from the University of St Andrews, the University of Tromso, the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Institute of Marine Research, and Nelson Mandela University.

Focused on studying the abundance, density, and variability of marine wildlife, the team joined a number of sailings to Antarctica. Whilst onboard the team captured observations of more than 1,700 whales and 14,400 sea birds. One of the main focuses of this research was to contribute to and inform the decision-making around fisheries in Antarctica, a synopsis of which was published as the 'Intra-season variations in distribution and abundance of humpback whales in the West Antarctic Peninsula using cruise vessels as opportunistic platforms'.

This data was also part of John Elling Johannessen's Masters of Science in the distribution of Humpback whales. John's research was able to successfully document the distribution of Humpback whales across the Northern Antarctic Peninsula and estimate they consume an estimated 3.3 million tons of Krill during the feeding season.

Andre historier

Penguins perched on the ice of Cuverville Island, Antarctica. Credit: Espen Mills / HX Hurtigruten Expeditions

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