Call for MASTERS!


These are some of the topics we would like to see Master students work on, in different fields of study.

Our main expertise in the project rest on Economics, Political Science and Biology. However, if you would like to write your Master Thesis within other fields of study, and relate it to Regimes, we would love to hear your ideas.

We all work interdisciplinary – even TRANS-disciplinary, and are excited to meet students from other fields of study as well.

Master thesis suggestions
Economic impacts of climate change on fisheries in Norwegian Arctic Waters

The world ocean has warming up, snow and sea ice are melting, glaciers are retreating, sea levels are rising, and seawater is becoming more acidic. All these changes in climate have produced noticeable effects on ecosystems and ecosystem services. It has become more evident that the effects of climate change on fisheries are profound and have displayed in various ways. Scientific findings have suggested that climate change affects fish productivity (abundance) and distribution through changes in migration patterns, reproduction, recruitment, growth, and mortality rates. Consequently, these physical and biological changes have impacts on fishing and well-being of fishing industry or fishers. Some fisheries and fishing industries may become winners while some become losers. Further, the anticipated changes in fishing sector caused by climate change require mitigation and adaptation strategies in order to respond these changes to minimize damages and losses. Economic effects of climate change on fisheries are influenced by a number of factors, including landing values (e.g., catch, size, markets, etc), costs of production (e.g., new investment on technology, travel distance, energy consumption).

Thus, we are looking for one or two Master thesis student(s) to develop their Masters thesis about the economic effects of climate change on fisheries. Potential topics could include:

1) a fishery bioeconomic model combining population dynamics of one or two fish populations and their ecological and economic interaction, and how they are affected by climate change through reproduction, recruitment, growth and mortality, eventually catch and market;

2) what management strategies could be applied to minimize the impact;

3) what mitigation/adaptation could be more economically effective?

Does this sound interesting to you? Contact Dr. Yajie Liu at

Resource managment in the Arctic, with a focus on the Svalbard area: Realism vs. idealism (or institutionalism) and international regimes. Make a case study of one or a few regional resource management organizations in the Arctic (such as NEAFC, Svalbard Treaty, the Russian-Norwegian Fisheries commission, the Arctic Council etc) and consider them historically and within the current political-environmental situation of climate change and changing eco-system goods and services (such as changing fisheries distributions).

a) Which theory or theoretical approach to international relations best explains the operation of the organization?
b) Based on your findings, and IPCC projections of climate change scenarios, what is the likely future of the organization(s)?

Contact if you would like to know more about the topic.
The water column, the ocean floor and the loop hole in the Arctic: conflicts over natural resources in enclosed international waters will only increase with climate change and the effect this will have on distribution patterns of fish stocks. States have management rights for fisheries (in the water column) out to 200 nm, but benthic species (bottom dwellers) like crab are governed by the Continental shelf principle. This latter extension in state control, which in many cases go beyond 200 NM EEZ in addition to the EEZs themselves, have resulted in the creation of only one small expanse of international water that is totally enclosed in the Arctic - the Loophole.

a) How have conflicts in this area historically been resolved?
b) What impact has the Continental Shelf principle had on its management?
c) What are the implications of the snow crab and the EUs position on the Norwegian claims to the Continental Shelf under Svalbard?

Contact if you would like to know more about the topic.
Are you interested in a master’s topic in Fisheries Management?

Are you interested in a master’s topic that can combine
Fisheries & Social Science methods?

Are you interested in a master’s topic that examines
science’s role in society?

Are you curious about how fisheries and marine science is
translated into ocean management Advice?

Example Masters research questions:
• How do people make fisheries or coastal management decisions under uncertainty?
• How do scientists produce knowledge for evidence-based policies?
• How do fisheries policies perform locally in Bergen (or other parts of Norway)?

Contact Dorothy Dankel ( if you'd like to discuss these opportunities. mastersdag-2017-dorothys-ideas

Overarching Question: How do people make decisions under uncertainty?

Background & Introduction
The background for this idea is the 3–year project “REGIMES: An interdisciplinary investigation into scenarios of national and international conflicts of ecosystem services in the Svalbard zone under a changing climate in the Arctic” (project number 257628) funded by the Research Council of Norway’s Polar Program (POLARPROG) 2016–2019. The focus of REGIMES is outstanding interdisciplinary research on the changing Arctic climate, which contributes to the knowledge base about trade-offs among different ecosystem services.

The archipelago of Svalbard is located at 78oN, and is vulnerable environmentally, socially as well as politically to a changing climate. People depend on ecosystem goods and services for their livelihoods, and ecosystem that are indispensable to human health and well-being. Climate change is anticipated to have a variety of effects on the provision of marine ecosystem services, which may have profound impacts on the people, including affecting life's basic needs (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). Climate change affects marine ecosystems and their services directly through marine resources (e.g., species) distributions and interactions. By assessing ecosystem services and the natural marine system and the effects of value of the services that the natural system provides, we can assess the potential impacts when climate changes.

In order to scientifically assess how the intra- and intergenerational participants react to the challenges posed by the serious game “Artic Climate in Society” (shortened ARCtIS), we will collect qualitative social science data and quantitative temporal and biomedical data during the playing. Examples of qualitative data include how the participants work together (or lack thereof), what spoken and body language do they use during play, and interviews before and after game playing to assess their knowledge base and critical thinking skills. Quantitative data can be collected within the game, such as how much time each participant take to make decisions, length of play.

ACRtIS will also use data rooted in behaviors of political science and diplomacy, to create a high-stakes role-playing game among diplomats and policy-makers of countries such as Norway, Russia, United States, China and Canada.

Other data could be taken during play, like biomedical data such as heart rate and brain wave activity, which would be used to compliment the other data sources and could collaborate other data like length of play. For example, if heart rate and brain wave activity for a participant (or participants) is high over an extended length of decision-making, it would be relevant to look at which decisions caused this, also what outcomes resulted from high-stress decisions.

One hypothesis is that we would see different patterns and norms of decision-making when the ARCtIS climate game is played by high school students and current (adult) stakeholders in Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Longyearbyen.

Intra- and Inter-Generational Dialogues
We will have an experimental set-up where the multi-person game ARCtIS will be played intra-generationally (by participants of the same generation) and inter-generationally (by participants from two, or even three, different generations). The game will be a catalyst of further dialogue in these experimental groups, hosted by the workshops lead by Rachel Tiller (SINTEF) in WP2 of the REGIMES project.

If you would like to have more information, or discuss this possibility, contact Dorothy J. Dankel at the Department of Biology UiB or @dorothydankel