Establishing the Atlantic-Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory (A-DBO)


Thank you for showing interest and getting involved in shaping a strong A-DBO, and pan-Arctic DBO, framework!

Making ready for a cruise in the A-DBO region? Please keep in touch with us regarding both planned are more opportunistic type of sampling at the dedicated Key Sites! Guiding material is now available under "A-DBO planning and reporting tools" further down!👇

🚩Save the date! Our A-DBO 2024 Autumn meeting will take place 10-12 December in the House of Science, Bremen, Germany kindly hosted by our colleagues at AWI. We're still working out the details but hope for many reports back from your 2024 field activities! Information will be provided successively under "Upcoming Events".


The Atlantic-Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory (A-DBO) is under development, and envisioned as a comprehensive marine observing network for climate and environment in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean - one of the key gateway areas of the Arctic, currently experiencing rapid environmental, climate and ecosystem changes.

Together with the pioneering observatory in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean (DBO), the Davis Strait/Baffin Bay DBO and the Siberian DBO, the Atlantic DBO aims to serve as important contribution to the pan-arctic collaborative observatory network.

The locations of all four Distributed Biological Observatories overlaid on a bathymetric map of the Arctic Ocean.

The dots indicate key sites/standard stations while the bounding boxes outline hot spots/corridors being the focal areas of each DBO.

The fundamental incentive for the DBO sampling concept is to work across disciplines in dedicated geographical areas toward better integrated and available observations. The DBOs are shaped to:

•  Cover key ocean phenomena and processes under rapid change

•  Bring together all disciplines needed to understand the marine ecosystem functioning

•  Increase the data coverage within the focal areas
•  Utilize common, harmonized procedures for data sampling and sharing

•  Facilitate both dedicated (long-term) and opportunistic sampling

•  Encourage technological development for improved multidisciplinary coupling 

•  Be sustainable and overarch shorter observational efforts

During 2022-2025, Arctic PASSION provides the means for increased coordination capabilities to establish the A-DBO network and the common practices for sampling, analysis and data sharing. The work is carried through based on the DBO annual cycle with seasonal activities:

The annual cycle of the A-DBO activities with the main networking events being the open community meetings in autumn,

and at the Arctic Science Summit Week in spring.

This webpage serves as our main hub of information during the pilot implementation phase. From here you will be able to find contact info, access common documents, and get the latest information about our events. The implementation process is open to scientists and institutions with interest to collaborate in this region, as well as to end-users who will benefit from results from the A-DBO. The opportunities for getting involved are listed in 'Upcoming Events' below.


In our A-DBO Cruise Package you will find our current information on the 2024 cruise plans for the region, the positions for the A-DBO key sampling sites and a template of the metadata file to be used for reporting back your 2024 observations.

The metadata sheet is established as our common living document where information on data availability is shared rather swiftly among us after each field season. We welcome any parameters describing biological, chemical, or physical sea-ice, water-column or seabed properties (these can be selected from a given list, or added manually).

Striving for improved comparability of data, and methodological agreement between various research groups, the A-DBO will work to formalize its best practices for sampling and analysis of our observations. For now, we warmly recommend the extensive collection of protocols by the Nansen Legacy project (, being particular relevant for the geographical region of the A-DBO.


A-DBO 2024 Autumn meeting

10-12 December 2024 | Bremen, Germany (and online)

The agenda details are still in the making but it is possible to sign up for the meeting here


ASSW 2024 - Joint Community meeting for the pan-Arctic network of DBOs

21 March 2024 | 10:30 - 18:00 (GMT) | Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (and online)

The four current DBO:s organized a joint DBO community meeting at ASSW2024, for presentations of the 2023 sampling activities and the plans for 2024, as well as for discussions about common aims and initiatives ahead. The agenda can be downloaded here, and the meeting summary will appear here soon too!

A-DBO 2023 Autumn meeting
28-30 November 2023, at the Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAN) in Sopot, Poland

The main objective for this annual meeting was to give our members the opportunity to share experiences and outcomes of their 2023 activities and to summarize the observed status for the A-DBO sector. We also looked at the sampling plans for 2024 and discussed how to collectively strengthen our work onward – in terms of results, sampling plans, and common routines.

As a tangible output from the meeting, we work on an overview of the 2023 conditions in the Fram Strait. This scope was agreed upon since several  the harsh ice conditions north of Svalbard in early summer brought several cruises to this region, leading to a monthly coverage of some parameters between May and September. The overview was first presented at the all-DBO community meeting at ASSW2024 in Edinburgh, UK.

For more information on the Autumn meeting, see the agenda and meeting summary.

ASSW2023 Joint DBO Sessions

17 – 24 February 2023, in Vienna, Austria

The Pacific, Davis Strait and Atlantic DBOs jointly organized two sessions at the Arctic Science Summit Week 2023, in both the community and science parts of the conference:

A-DBO 2022 Autumn Meeting

31 October – 1 November 2022 in Bergen, Norway (+ TEAMS)

The first A-DBO dedicated autumn meeting was held with focus on defining the fundamental spatio-temporal characteristics of the A-DBO and the associated core parameters to sample. We also took the opportunity to share news about our recent sampling activities and about our planned cruise activities. For more information, see the agenda and meeting minutes.

ASSW2022 Session on Establishing the Distributed Biological Observatory system in the Atlantic Sector of the Arctic Ocean 

27 March 2022 in Tromsø, Norway

A workshop was held during the Arctic Science Summit Week to invigorate the process initiated in 2016 to implement a comprehensive marine observing system for climate and environment in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean. With inspiration from the Pacific DBO system and existing long term observational programmes on the Atlantic side, discussions were initiated about priorities for sampling locations, variables, and methods as well as means of collaboration. A steering group was established to support the work of the executive team. For a summary of the workshop, please see the meeting minutes.


Executive team:
Arild Sundfjord (NPI),
Marit Reigstad (UiT) and Anna Nikolopoulos (NPI)

Steering group:

Agnieszka Beszczyńska-Möller (IOPAN), Michael Karcher (AWI), Monika Kedra (IOPAN), Angelika Renner (IMR), Mikael Sejr (AU), Thomas Soltwedel (AWI), and Laura de Steur (NPI).