AMINOR – the Fram Centre’s Research School for Environmental Research
Science and society
Current environmental research and management build on knowledge from many different fields. AMINOR provides communication and educational platform for students and scientists, focusing on the integration of monitoring, science, and management across several scientific disciplines.
By the AMINOR Steering Committee: Martin Biuw, Marie-Anne Blanchet, André Frainer, Sandra Hamel, Benjamin Planque, Heli Routti, Eeva Soininen, Arnaud Tarroux and Nigel G Yoccoz
AMINOR is a multidisciplinary research network connecting all flagship research programmes represented at the Fram Centre.
The focal groups are PhD and master’s students, early career scientists, and researchers covering diverse disciplines such as statistics, oceanography, meteorology, terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecology, ecotoxicology, economics, ethics, political/social science, and history. AMINOR aims to increase, diversify, and improve skills and knowledge held in the Fram institutions. To this end, AMINOR creates opportunities for students and members of the Fram Centre to continually develop their knowledge and competences on study designs, analytical methods, and theoretical development through courses, workshops, and in-depth discussions.
Currently, four institutions from the Fram Centre are involved in AMINOR’s steering committee, working together to continue the development of the research school. However, AMINOR intends to achieve its goals collectively and across institutional boundaries to benefit from the experience, knowledge, and networks available at each institution. All Fram Centre institutions are thus strongly encouraged to take part in AMINOR’s activities.
Because of the cross-institutional nature of AMINOR, we constantly strive to improve communication among our members.
We use two main tools: our web site and a Slack workspace for more instantaneous and direct communication. You can sign up for the AMINOR Slack workspace if you have an email address from a Fram Centre institution. Alternatively, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can register you. This will give you access to all the activities organised by AMINOR, allow you to participate in discussions, and – not least – be notified about upcoming events at the Fram Centre and elsewhere. Informing scientists at other institutions about interesting guest lectures, thus enabling them to participate, is easy via the AMINOR Slack workspace. You can also exchange messages directly with any AMINOR member. The workspace also lets you create “channels” for specific topics to foster dynamic group discussions. Students are especially encouraged to become involved and participate in all of our activities!
These are the main AMINOR activities proposed so far (but suggestions are welcome):
- Group discussions (2-4 hours) assessing and reflecting on analytical methods and conceptual advances linked to central problems within different monitoring and management schemes
- Courses within the portfolio of master’s/PhD students in environmental studies
- Weekly lunch discussions with seminar presentations or discussions based on recent literature
- Workshops (2-4 days) where students, researchers, and invited guests gather to deepen knowledge on specific topics that are of interest to a broad range of researchers within the Fram Centre
In 2019 AMINOR organised numerous group discussions based on a series of scientific articles and presentations by guest researchers.
Topics included: statistical evidence; global meta-analysis on biodiversity; species distributions and conservation; citizen science and population distribution trends; cascade effects in ecosystems; recreational ecology; ecosystem consequences of balanced fishing regimes; integral projection models (i.e. models of population dynamics based on individual parameters such as size) and their relevance for evaluating the impacts of pollutants; and challenges in transferability of ecological models. In 2020, we plan to organise up to six such morning/afternoon discussions.
AMINOR organises weekly lunch discussions and seminars.
The topics are either based on recent papers suggested by members, or on presentations, typically given by visiting scientists or early-career scientists and students at the Fram Centre. Visiting scientists who have held lectures include Jay Piggott (Ireland) on “Climate change and multiple stressors in freshwater ecosystems”, Gretta Pecl (Australia) on “Range shifts in marine fish due to climate warming”, and Andreas Bruder (Switzerland) on “Food webs and multiple stressors”. We have also participated via video link in seminars held elsewhere, such as the citizen science talks presented at a conference arranged by the Norwegian node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. All lunch discussions were physically held at both UiT and the Fram Centre building, with a video link to facilitate participation from both Fram Centre hubs.
AMINOR holds two core PhD courses at UiT:
“Ecological methodology: study design and statistical analysis” (BIO-8105, arranged every year) and “Environmental systems: integration of monitoring, research and management” (BIO-8006, arranged every other year). These courses are well established and fully integrated in the UiT course curriculum.
Two workshops were also successfully held by AMINOR in 2019, on “food web analysis” and on “citizen science”.
AMINOR strongly encourages researchers/students from other Fram Centre institutions not yet represented in the steering committee to become members: this will help AMINOR tailor activities to the diversity of disciplines represented at the Fram Centre.
AMINOR is currently co-led from four institutions at the Fram Centre:
UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI). The AMINOR Steering Committee includes, in alphabetical order: M Biuw (IMR), MA Blanchet (UiT), A Frainer (NINA), S Hamel (Laval University/UiT), B Planque (IMR), H Routti (NPI), E Soininen (UiT), A Tarroux (NINA), and NG Yoccoz (UiT).
AMINOR wishes to thank Sandra Hamel for her instrumental role in setting up AMINOR and carrying the research school to where it is today. Although Sandra has left UiT for a new adventure at Université Laval in Québec, Canada, she remains involved in AMINOR.
AMINOR activities depend entirely on external funding. In 2019, AMINOR received support from three Fram Centre flagships: (i) Hazardous substances, (ii) Climate Effects on Terrestrial Ecosystems, Landscapes, Societies and Indigenous People, and (iii) MIKON – Environmental Impacts of Industrial Development in the North. Each flagship contributed 30 000 NOK for the year 2019.