Scientific research

In line with its stated objectives, the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters has initiated, largely financed and carried out the following research projects in the last 25 years.
The Beitstadfjord project
This project was initiated in 1976 and ended in 1997. It was led by Professor Gunnar Sundnes, the former Director of the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The objective was to gain an insight into the dynamics of a complicated fjord system. Special emphasis was placed on studying hydrodynamic circulatory systems, population genetics in fish, physiology of fish parasites and physiological mechanisms and functions related to the fish heart and swim bladder. Smolt production from a local salmon population was initiated in connection with a hydroelectric scheme in the area. In addition to the field studies in Beitstadfjord, field work and experimental studies were also carried out in the Baltic States, the Mediterranean and the USA.
Behavioural adaptations and breeding biology in the Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) in Svalbard
The project started in 1998 and is being led by Professor Yngve Espmark at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Its main objective is to investigate the relationships between environmental constraints in the Arctic and behavioural adaptations in Snow Buntings, the only passerine species breeding regularly and in large numbers in the Svalbard archipelago. Variations in song features, plumage characteristics, mating strategies, the number of extrapair offspring (EPO), paternal care, diurnal activity in relation to temperature, light and other ambient factors are variables being analysed in relation to, for instance, mate choice, onset and duration of breeding time and breeding success. In addition, data on site fidelity, philopatry. reproduction and survival are being collected and analysed in relation to population dynamics and environmental monitoring. The field work is being carried out in Adventdalen, near Longyearbyen, in Svalbard.
After six consecutive field seasons the field part of the project was terminated in 2003.
Publications so far (2003):
– Espmark, Y. 1999. Song of the snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis in areas with and without sympatric passerines. – Can. J. Zool. 77, 1385-1392.
– Hofstad, E., Espmark, Y., Moksnes, A., Haugan, T. & Ingebrigtsen, M. 2002. The relationship between song performance and male quality in snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis). – Can. J. Zool. 80, 524-531.
Manuscripts in preparation:
– Mate guarding and song activity in relation to parental effort in the snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis in Svalbard.
– Does female plumage ornamentation signal parental quality in the snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)?
– Food provisioning in snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) related to ambient temperature: effects on chick growth and reproductive success.
Minting at the Archbishop’s palace in medieval Trondheim, Norway.
This is an interdisciplinary project under leadership of professor Otto Lohne, Norwegian university of science and technology. Participating scientists are from material technology, archaeology, cultural history and numismatics. The objective of the project is to bring about a broad scientific documentation of the Archbishop’s activities in the minting factories and to put this documentation into an economical and power-political context.
The Royal Norwegian Societyof Sciences and Letters has published an English-language book about the work called The Mint in the Nidaros Archbishop´s Palace – Coin production under Archbishop Gaute Ivarsson.  (DKNVS Skrifter nr. 1, 2010)