The Runde environmental centre is located on the island Runde on the west coast of Norway, next to the Norwegian Sea. Location is at 62o 20’N, 05o35’E, 25 km SW of Aalesund. The island is famous for its many species of seabirds. The flora and fauna and the beautiful scenery under and above the water surface attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually, of whom many are specialists in various fields of natural sciences.
The sea area around Runde has a very rich marine flora and fauna, with species typical for both southern, pan- and northern distribution in Norway. This is the area of the richest and most diversified coastal fisheries in Norway, with the local commune Heroy being the No 1 in fisheries earnings. The influence from the Norwegian current carrying warm and salty water of North Atlantic origin is significant, causing the highest winter temperatures for the entire Norwegian coast. In addition, the Norwegian Coastal Currents carries less salty waters across the region with nutrients and minerals with a terrestrial origin nurturing the marine food chain. Oil&Gas are steadily approaching Runde.
This and the risks associated with the steadily increasing traffic by Runde of large carriers with oil from NW Russia for the European market represent a potential threat to the fauna of Runde. These are some of the factors behind the establishing of the Centre, which has a permanent staff of 12 persons, offices for visitors, wet/dry labs and field equipment including a vessel suitable for observations, ROV surveys, sampling and diving. Recently REC obtained a fleet of Gliders, in cooperation with University of Bergen. Users of the station are such as regional and Norwegian agencies and universities.
Activities have expanded to include such as marine bioprospecting, ocean energies and mariculture R&D.