Citizen Science Projects: Don't Just Travel the World - Study it!

By Hurtigruten Expeditions  ·  August 2022

The goal of the Hurtigruten Science Program is to educate and inform our guests about the challenges our planet faces and, by doing so, create ambassadors.

The Hurtigruten Science Program

Our Science Program has one goal: To increase your curiosity, knowledge, and interest of the areas you’re sailing to.

At Hurtigruten, we’re passionate about science, education, and sustainability. That’s why we invite our guests to actively participate in the collection of scientific data through our Citizen Science projects. These projects not only foster a deeper understanding of the regions in which we travel, but also provide insights and invaluable data to help protect some of the planet’s most fragile ecosystems.

Science in a Unique Atmosphere

The onboard state-of-the-art Science Center is the heart of your expedition ship. Here, you’ll learn about wildlife, culture, and history specific to the destinations you visit. You’ll also have an opportunity to join lectures on sustainability, nature photography, and climate change. The enthusiastic Expedition Team of experts are excited to share their in-depth knowledge with you.

The Science Center is packed with research equipment, including high-tech microscopes and a library. Depending on ship size, these areas offer a variety of meaningful experiences like wildlife spotting (birds, marine mammals), geology, biology, history, geography, glaciology, oceanography, and more.

The Science Center is also a great place to hang out, get some expert camera tips, and broaden your mind with fellow explorers.

The Core of Citizen Science Projects

  • Involving guests in projects for third-party organizations
  • Carrying scientific equipment for sample collection on behalf of research institutes
  • Hosting scientific personnel on board to conduct collaborative science programs
  • Delivering an educational lecture program
  • Interacting with guests in our Science Centers to reinforce the lecture program with practical, hands-on experiences

We run numerous Citizen Science projects to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the areas we sail in, all of which our guests are welcome to participate in when they travel with us. For example, in Svalbard we take part in the Norwegian Polar Institute project for the registration of marine mammals in the Arctic (Marine Mammal Sightings Database). The data from this project improves our overall understanding of habitat use and seasonal movement patterns.

Additionally, scientific research is conducted on board our ships via partnerships with world-leading institutions. For example, since the 1930s our ships have been collecting data about the water we sail through, helping scientists to improve their understanding of the oceans. As part of a global initiative to analyze water quality, a collection of sensors called the FerryBox is installed in selected ships and transfers data via satellite back to the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

Other examples of onboard Citizen Science projects that support scientific research are seabird distribution with the Antarctic Site Inventory, Cloud Observations with the Globe Program, and the monitoring of penguin colonies, phytoplankton, and algae blooms.

We contribute to several science projects by offering in-kind logistical support to researchers. In 2021, we had 10 researchers on board Hurtigruten Expeditions vessels from six different scientific institutions.

Young Explorers’ Program

Our Young Explorers’ Program, for children between the ages of 6 and 12, helps them to learn about other cultures, the importance of nature in our daily lives, and the impact humans have on our planet. The goal of the program is to offer our young explorers a deeper understanding of nature, climate, and culture.

Disclaimer: We aim to run at least one program on every trip. The specific programming of the Citizen Science Project is subject to availability and can change based on a number of conditions like the itinerary, the number of staff, activities, and weather.


Please send us a message if you have any questions or comments about anything you see in the e-zine. We’d love to hear from you!