The story of MARBIO begins among the pebbles on the beach, which is just off the factory of Norske Skog at Skogn, in the early 70s. A little boy named Erlend is wading around in the shallow waters. He feels the water playing around his legs. He discovered that this water is different from the tap water after stumbling in seaweed growing on a rock at the bottom and getting his first taste of salty water. The sound of other children playing on the beach is mixed with the sound of seagulls and the monotonous rumble from the factory. Erlend kept on wading around, trying to capture all new impressions in this new world immersed in salty water.
In the shallows, just ashore, there is something dipping in the mild waves that wash up over the sand on the beach. Sparkles of sunlight reflect from a jelly-like lump halfway up on land. What is this? The lump of jelly is curiously and extensively studied. Here is where Einar, Erlend’s dad, comes into the story. He has followed his son’s journey of discovery a few steps behind, but sees his cut to give his son a lesson about life in the ocean.
Big surprise! The lump of jelly is a living animal called a moon jellyfish! A fitting name… But even a child can see that the beach is not the right place for this animal. A rescue operation is immediately organized, and the fate of the jellyfish now rests in two small hands, which slowly and gently try to lead it into deeper water. A few meters out from the beach, Erlend is pleased with the effort, and observes the jellyfish, which is now moving a bit more. Though, perhaps not as much as it should?
Over the next few minutes, it just floats back to the beach. Dad’s narrative voice comes back into the story and his son’s first encounter with the end of a life is a fact. A lot of new lessons in one day!
This first memory of the discovery of life underwater is the start of a number of new marine discoveries for Erlend. At Smøla, where Erlend’s mother comes from, the sea is close on all sides. The almost pancake-flat surface of the island of Smøla is surrounded by close to 6 000 smaller islands and islets. Between these lies a fantastic archipelago. Countless boat trips in the archipelago each summer nourish the curiosity of life underwater.
For generations, fishing and whaling have been the basis of life for Erlend’s family. Here Erlend also learn about commercial fisheries, about the various gear and about life on-board a commercial fishing vessel.
The winds blow on Smøla. Often. A lot. On the islands in the archipelago the sea throws a lot up on land that it does not want. Things and objects of all the shapes and colors of the world. Bottles, jugs, boots, gloves, parts of fishing gear … Some of the items have writing on them that is clearly not Norwegian. Erlend developed a special connection to marine litter after these discoveries.
From here, the path continues through military service, officers training, a university education in marine biology, a college education in economics, administration and marketing – and further through work experience at the Directorate of Fisheries, the Directorate for Nature Management, the Norwegian Environment Agency and the consulting company Salt Lofoten AS. You may read more about this on the page called Knowledge.
MARBIO was founded June 2020 and is the sum of my knowledge about life underwater and other important lessons gathered on this journey. I am eager to use this knowledge to find good solutions to your problems about life underwater, and through this help to gain new knowledge.
The common jellyfish, or Aurelia aurita in latin, was the first animal to help arouse my curiosity and interest in marine biology. Aurelia aurita is an animal with a strong tolerance for various levels of salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen, and is found in virtually all oceans. It consists of between 97-99% water, but has a complex life cycle and can reproduce itself both sexually and asexually. It is a good representative of life underwater. The beautiful Aurelia has been given a central position in the MARBIO logo in appreciation of the inspiration.