3Rs: Ethically maximising data from unique Arctic animal studies

Arctic animals show a range of remarkable physiological adaptations and are excellent models for assessing species sensitivity to climate change. Working with such animals is challenging, because unlike mice or fruitflies they are difficult to keep in large numbers and have special living requirements. UiT has unique expertise in this area, and we are developing approaches that build on this and maximise the scientific benefit from working with these animals.  3Rs is the most important guiding principle underpinning all animal experimentation in Norway and the European Union. It refers to reduction of animal numbers, refinement of experimental approaches and replacement of animal studies with alternatives such as cell culture.

This project aims to refine the our studies in Tromsø through development of state of the art BIOLOGGING – the use of non-invasive tags by which behavioural (e.g. position / activity / rest / sleep / wake) and physiological (e.g. temperature, heart rate) data may be gathered from freely moving animals, with minimal need for handling or other interference. In concert with this we will seek to improve the possibilities to replace animals in our studies through sophisticated real-time metabolic monitoring of activity and energy use in animal cell cultures. Real time monitoring of metabolism (Oroboros technology) in cell or tissue samples will allow us to explore basic mechansisms driving animal behaviour and physiology and minimise the need for invasive work in live animals. Through these approaches we will reduce the number of animals used in research and maximise the quality of data obtained.

This work is applicable under Theme 1 and 3 of ASTI.


Shona Wood (Principal investigator)
Chiara Ciccone
Fredrik Andreas Fasth Markussen
Vebjørn Jacobsen Melum
David Hazlerigg (Principal investigator)

Financial/grant information:

UiT and the department of arctic and marine biology are financially supporting this project.