Iceland: projects/activities

Directory entires that have specified Iceland as the primary or lead country for the project/activity and are included in the AMAP, ENVINET, SAON and SEARCH directories. To see the full list of countries, see the countries list. The specified country may not be the geographic region where the activity is taking place - to select a geographic region, see the list of regions.

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Displaying: 1 - 17 of 17
1. The Icelandic Centre for Research - Rannsóknamiðstöð Íslands, RANNÍS (RANNIS)

RANNIS reports to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and operates according to the Act on Public Support for Scientific Research ( No. 3/2003).  Hallgrímur Jónasson is the General Director of RANNIS.

The Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS) supports research, innovation, education and culture in Iceland. RANNIS cooperates closely with the  Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council and provides professional assistance in the preparation and implementation of the national science and technology policy.

RANNIS administers competitive funds in the fields of research, innovation, education and culture, as well as strategic research programmes.

RANNIS coordinates and promotes Icelandic participation in European programmes such, as  Horizon 2020  Erasmus+ and  Creative Europe.

RANNIS monitors resources and performance in R&D and promotes public awareness of research and innovation, education and culture in Iceland.  Rannis is the Icelandic national contact point for SAON.

At the end of 2014, RANNIS had a permanent staff of 41. Apart from regular staff, RANNIS also relies on the involvement of external contacts, including scientists and technical experts who assist in the evaluation of grant proposals.

The main competitive funds administered by RANNIS have the following annual budgets for 2014: The Icelandic Research Fund: 1.185 MISK, The Infrastructure Fund: 106 MISK, The Technology Development Fund: 988 MISK.

Arctic assessment Monitoring Research
2. Institute of Freshwater Fisheries – Veiðimálastofnun (Veiðimálastofnun)

The Institute of Freshwater Fisheries (Veidimalastofnun) is a Governmental institution managing freshwater biota and freshwater fisheries in Iceland. Its principal tasks are research of biota in rivers and lakes, research on freshwater fish stocks supervision and guidance to river and lake fisheries associations concerning sustainable fisheries. Among the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries main tasks is research and consultation concerning impact assessment of projects or structures affecting rivers and lakes, creation and management of data banks on rivers and lakes, their biota and fisheries. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Field stations

3. Stofnun Vilhjálms Stefánssonar ‐ The Stefansson Arctic Institute, SAI (SAI)

The Stefansson Arctic Institute is an Icelandic governmental (Ministry for the Environment) research institute with focus on the Arctic region, also involved in public dissemination of research, exhibits, and international collaboration on northern human dimension issues, social and cultural change and human development, economic development and interdisciplinary aspects of human‐environmental relations in the Circumpolar Arctic and Northern North Atlantic. The institute is involved in a range of research and information dissemination projects and programmes. The institute was responsible for leading and hosting the project secretariat and publishing the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR), the first comprehensive scientific assessment of human welfare, social development and cultural change in the circumpolar Arctic, and the follow-up projects Arctic Social Indicators (ASI-I, and ASI-II) 2006-2010. The Institute leads the work on the second AHDR (2010-2014); and follow-up work to the ASI projects includes the implementation of an Arctic Social Indicators monitoring system with a piloting of a monitoring system in the Inuvialuit region of Canada, North West Territories. The ASI indicators work is also being applied in community case studies on the Alaska North Slope Borough, as well as the North-Atlantic region, Yamal-Nenets, Sakha-Yakutia, and Nunavut. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Community based observations

Human health
4. Mývatn Research Station

The Mývatn Research Station is an ecological field research institute under the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment. It operates in close cooperation with the University of Iceland. Its main task is to carry out and stimulate research that aids conservation and management of the Mývatn-Laxá nature protection area of international interest. Research activities are twofold: (1) long-term monitoring of the ecological situation; (2) short term research projects focusing on certain aspects of the ecosystem. Ecological monitoring started in 1975. It focuses on the entire food web of the lake. The nature of Mývatn and Laxá Myvatn is a large lake at the edge of the volcanic zone cutting through North Iceland. 
Its water wells up in a number of springs on the lake shore. 
Craters and volcanoes dominate the landscape. 
Several famous volcanoes are in the vicinity such as Hverfjall (Hverfell), Krafla 
and the Threngslaborgir crater row
. Volcanic activity in the region gives rare insight into the process of continental drift.
 Many strange lava formations occur, Dimmuborgir and Höfdi being the most famous ones, 
also the pseudocrates (rootless vents) which are characteristic for the lake shore. The lake itself and its outflow the River Laxá is the most fertile freshwater system in Iceland.
 The bird life and fishing (including Atlantic Salmon) is extremely rich. Owing to the position
 of Iceland between two continents and on the border between the arctic and boreal ecozones the species composition of the biota is unique. The richness 
is based on phosphate-rich groundwater, relatively high insolation 
and optimal water depth for aquatic plants and waterfowl. Fishing and harvesting of duck eggs has always been important for the local household.
 Hydro- and geothermal power extraction as well as mining activities
 are currently the main threats to the landscape and ecology of the area. The area attracts large numbers of tourists. The local nature undergoes substantial changes because of soil erosion, volcanic activity, mining, geothermal power utilization, agriculture, changes in grazing regime, structures for communication and other building activities. The area is a protected nature reserve, managed by the Environment and Food Agency of Iceland
, backed up by scientific information from the Myvatn Research Station. The Myvatn Research Station The Myvatn Research Station is a research institute focusing on Lake Mývatn and the outflowing river Laxá and their water catchment, with the overall aims of understanding and foreseeing changes in the ecosystem and its surroundings. Monitoring of the lake biota The overall aim of monitoring is to follow trends in the biota in order to detect undesired changes that may be caused by human activities and call for management actions. The monitoring is based on simple, well tested and ecologically meaningful methods that tackle various levels of the foodweb to maximize interpretability. Most monitoring projects are backed up by focused short-term research projects and are designed to yield usable data for scientific publications. The monitoring is carried out in cooperation with the University of Iceland, University of Wisconsin (USA), the Nature Center of North-East Iceland, the Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, and the Hólar College. Monitoring of other areas For comparative purpose the Myvatn Research Station is actively engaged in monitoring of two other wetland areas in North Iceland, those of Svartárvatn and Svarfadardalur. Food-web research The monitoring has revealed decadal fluctuations in the food web that have generated a lot of interest. Our research has focused on the potential drivers of the fluctuations, especially the interaction between the midge larvae and their food organisms (diatoms). We also do research on the effect of fluctuations in the populations of food organisms (midges and crustaceans) on the population dynamics of the vertebrates feeding on them (fish and waterfowl). Palaeoenvironment There is also an emphasis on long term palaeorecords of the lake and terrestrial ecosystems, including human impact. The research station organises, carries out or supports research on the palaeoenvironment of Lake Mývatn and the surrounding landscape. The main projects include (1) mapping of Viking Age turf wall systems revealing land division and management in the early days of Iceland’s history; (2) mapping and dating of charcoal pits and other features related to deforestation in the medieval period; (3) detailed reconstruction of the lake biota of Mývatn from remains in the lake sediment; (4) archaeological excavation of a midden, covering the whole historical period (870 to present) revealing the history of human use of the local resources; (5) historical documents of wildlife abundance. All this research is carried out in collaboration with a number of universities in the US., the UK and Scandinavia.

5. Hafrannsóknastofnun ‐ Icelandic Marine Research Institution, MRI (MRI)

MRI's activities are organized into three main sections: Environment Section, Resources Section and Fisheries Advisory Section. Marine Environment Section: A large part of the sections work deals with environmental conditions (nutrients, temperature, salinity) in the sea, marine geology, and the ecology of algae, zooplankton, fish larvae, fish juveniles, and benthos. Amongst the larger projects undertaken within the Environment Section are investigations on currents using satellite monitored drifters and other modern technology, assessment of primary productivity, secondary productivity, overwintering and spring spawning of zooplankton, and studies on spawning of the most important exploited fish stocks. Marine Resources Section: Investigations are undertaken on the exploited stocks of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and marine mammals. The major part of the work involves estimating stock sizes and the total allowable catch (TAC) for each stock. Examples of some large projects within the Marine Resources Section are annual ground fish surveys covering the shelf area around Iceland and surveys for assessing inshore and deep‐water shrimp, lobster, and scallop stocks. The pelagic stocks of capelin and herring are also monitored annually in extensive research surveys using acoustic methods. Further, in recent years an extensive program concentrating on multi‐species interactions of exploited stocks in Icelandic waters has also been carried out. A designated project for improving understanding of the dynamics of the ecosystem deep north of Iceland has been conducted in recent years. The Fisheries Advisory Section: The Fisheries Advisory Section scrutinizes stock assessments and prepares the formal advice on TAC´s and sustainable fishing strategies for the government. Supporting departments: Important supporting departments are, the Electronic Department and the Fisheries Library. The Electronic Department supervises installation, testing and maintenance of research instruments. The Fisheries Library collects books and periodicals in all fields of marine sciences and publishes the MRI report series. 20 SAON: Inventory on Monitoring Networks Iceland Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Field stations ‐ Community based observations

Fish Oceanography Human health Ecosystems
6. Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands ‐ The Icelandic Institute of Natural History, IINH (IINH)

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History dates back to 1889 when the Icelandic Natural History Society established a Natural History Museum in Reykjavik. Now owned and run by the State, the Institute conducts basic and applied research on the nature of Iceland in the fields of botany, geology and zoology. The Institute maintains scientific specimen collections and holds data banks on the Icelandic nature, i.e. all animal and plant species, rocks and minerals, it assembles literature on the natural history of Iceland, operates the Icelandic Bird‐Ringing Scheme, prepares distribution, vegetation, and geological maps, conducts research in connection with environmental impact assessments and sustainability, advises on sustainable use of natural resources and land use, and monitors and assesses the conservation value of species, habitats and ecosystems. Member/connected to global network: IINH is the national representative in the Bern Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats and participates in the several working groups of the Convention in areas that are relevant to Iceland. IINH is the national representative in The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and has had a representative on the board of CAFF from the beginning. IINH participates in expert groups on marine birds, vegetation, sanctuaries, and biodiversity monitoring in the Arctic within the CAFF. IINH is further participating in the work of a Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). IINH is the national representative in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and participates in The North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species (NOBANIS) on behalf of Iceland. Type of network: ‐ Species monitoring ‐ Area monitoring, incl. protected areas ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Community based observations ‐ Endangered species Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Species monitoring ‐ Area monitoring, incl. protected areas ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Community based observations ‐ Endangered species

7. Veðurstofa Ísland ‐ Icelandic Meteorological Office, IMO (IMO)

The main purpose of IMO is to contribute towards increased security and efficiency in society by: • Monitoring, analyzing, interpreting, informing, giving advice and counsel, providing warnings and forecasts and where possible, predicting natural processes and natural hazards; • issuing public and aviation alerts about impending natural hazards, such as volcanic ash, extreme weather, avalanching, landslides and flooding; • conducting research on the physics of air, land and sea, specifically in the fields of hydrology, glaciology, climatology, seismology and volcanology; • maintaining high quality service and efficiency in providing information in the interest of economy, of security affairs, of sustainable usage of natural resources and with regard to other needs of the public; • ensuring the accumulation and preservation of data and knowledge regarding the long-term development of natural processes such as climate, glacier changes, crustal movements and other environmental matters that fall under IMO‘s responsibility. IMO has a long-term advisory role with the Icelandic Civil Defense and issues public alerts about impending natural hazards. The institute participates in international weather and aviation alert systems, such as London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), the Icelandic Aviation Oceanic Area Control Center (OAC Reykjavík) and the European alarm system for extreme weather, Meteoalarm. Network type: Thematic observations in 6 different fields

Geology Geophysics Pollution sources Sea ice Oceanography Atmosphere Ecosystems
8. Íslenskar Orkurannsóknir ‐ Iceland Geosurvey, ÍSOR (ÍSOR)

Iceland GeoSurvey ÍSOR is a self‐financing, state‐owned, non‐profit institution in the field of natural sciences, it’s main activity being related to the geothermal industry in Iceland and abroad. It was established 2003, when the GeoScience Division of Orkustofnun (the National Energy Authority of Iceland), was spun off as a separate entity according to the law of Iceland GeoSurvey no. 86, March 26th 2003 ( The main role of ÍSOR is to work on projects and research in the field of natural resources and energy, as the directive board of the institute decides. ÍSOR offers research consulting services worldwide on most aspects of geothermal exploration, development, and utilization, and provide training and education on related issues. It is based on six decades of continuous experience in the field of geothermal and hydropower research and development. The focus is on geothermal exploration, development, and utilization, but cover also many other geoscience‐related fields as well, including groundwater studies, marine geology, and environmental monitoring. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: Field stations Thematic observations

Geology Soils Geophysics Environmental management
9. Landmælingar Íslands ‐ The National Land Survey of Iceland, LMÍ (LMÍ)

The main objective of National Land Survey of Iceland is to provide and share geographical information on Iceland. The Survey gathers and sells digital data on Iceland as well as selling digital aerial photos. The institute is located at Stillholt 16‐18 in Akranes 50 km from Reyekjavik where it has been located since January 1, 1999. The institute currently has a staff of 29. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: Thematic observations

10. Siglingastofnun ‐ Icelandic Maritime Administration, IMA (IMA)

The Minister of the Interior is responsible for centrally administrating maritime, harbour and lighthouse affairs, except where otherwise provided for in a different law. The IMA, with a staff of around 70, handles numerous activities in the field of maritime administration and supervision, such as operation of lighthouses and navigational systems, vessel registration and supervision of ship surveys, manning and certification. The IMA also conducts research into ship stability and ship and harbour security and harbour development, coastal changes and coastal protection. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Thematic observations in mainfields

Environmental management Shipping
11. Directorate of Health - Centre for Health Security and Communicable Disease Control - Embætti landlæknis – sóttvarnalæknir

The Centre for Health Security and Communicable Disease Control at the Directorate of Health is operated according to the Act on Health Security and Communicable Diseases, No. 19/1997 ( This act applies to diseases and agents that can cause epidemics and other serious infectious diseases or pose a threat to public welfare. “Diseases” means disease or infection caused by infectious material, microbes and their toxins or parasites as well as serious health consequences caused by toxic chemicals and radio nuclear materials. The act also applies to unusual and unexpected events which may cause severe health consequences of international concern. The Chief Epidemiologist (CE) is responsible for maintaining a register of communicable diseases, including agents causing diseases and health threat events, immunisations and the use of antimicrobial drugs. These registers are intended to be of use in preventive measures and in epidemiological research. The CE chairs an inter-organisational committee on response measures if there is a risk that animals, food, water, sewers, ventilation or anything else in the environment is spreading or could spread infectious sources of disease, toxic chemicals or radio-nuclear agents that threaten the health of humans. The Minister decides, on the advice of the CE, whether official measures should be implemented, such as immunisation, isolation of infected persons, disinfections, quarantining of communities or the whole country, closing of schools or prohibition of public gatherings. The CE may apply such emergency measures without seeking authority in advance, if he believes that any delay would entail a risk, but he must inform the Minister of his actions immediately Network type: - Thematic observations - Health care observations - Community based observations - Epidemic intelligence

Human health
12. Landgræðsla Ríkisins ‐ The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, SCS (SCS)

The main tasks of the SCSI include combating desertification, sand encroachment and other soil erosion, promotion of sustainable land use and reclamation and restoration of degraded land. The work is on different levels, from policy making and research, to extension services and management of large‐ and small‐scale reclamation projects. The total area of reclamation sites is about 4460 km2. The SCSI operates several district offices around Iceland with headquarters at Gunnarsholt in South Iceland. The total number of permanent staff is about 60. Over 600 farmers participate in reclamation activities in cooperation with the SCSI. These sites are monitored annually with site visits by SCSI staff. • The SCSI monitors vegetation dynamics, carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation in all land reclamation sites active since 1990 as a part of Iceland's commitment to the Kyoto emission imitation commitment. Over 500 plots are monitored since 2007 or about 100 annually, hence revisited every five years. • The SCSI also monitors streambank erosion. • The SCSI in collaboration with the University of Iceland, institutes and individuals around Iceland monitor phenology of selected plant species for determining long term impact of climate change on plants. The project started in 2010 with monitoring sites located in diverse conditions. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Field stations ‐ Permanent monitoring plots

13. Flugstoðir ‐ ISAVIA (ISAVIA)

Isavia is the national operator of Iceland‘s airports, air navigation services and air communications system. Iceland is responsible for international services in the North Atlantic including oceanic air traffic control services and the upper airspace of Greenland. The company and its subsidiaries have undertaken other international support tasks in the past, such as the development of Pristina Airport and ATM services in Kosovo. The company conducts air navigation calibrations in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Isavia operates under the regulatory supervision of the Icelandic and Danish Civil Aviation Authorities. Isavia and its subsidiaries conduct research and development of systems to fulfill all the special needs and safety requirements of the airports and air navigation service operation, with economic considerations in mind. Most of the software systems used by the air traffic control center in Reykjavik and towers are developed in conjunction with the subsidiary company, Tern Systems ltd. The products have been successfully marketed internationally in several overseas projects. For more detailed information, please see Isavia annual report 2010. Main gaps: Not specified Network type: Coordination

14. Umhverfisstofnun ‐ The Environment Agency of Iceland (Umhverfisstofnun)

The Environment Agency operates under the direction of the Ministry for the Environment. It's role is to promote the protection as well as sustainable use of Iceland’s natural resources, as well as public welfare by helping to ensure a healthy environment, and safe consumer goods. Areas of operation: 1. Information and advice for the public, businesses and regulatory authorities 2. Monitoring of environmental quality 3. Evaluation of environmental impact assessment and development plans 4. Operation supervision, inspection, operating permits, etc. 5. Assessment of conservation effects and registration of unique nature 6. Management and supervision of designated protected areas 7. Wildlife management and conservation 8. Eco‐labeling 9. Labeling and handling of toxic as well as other hazardous substances 10. Coordination of health and safety in public places 11. Coordination of local environmental and health inspectorates 12. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) Main gaps: Metadata archives and metadata availability Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Community based observations ‐ Coordination

Geology Oceanography Atmosphere Ecosystems
15. Orkustofnun ‐ The National Energy Authority, NEA (NEA)

Orkustofnun, formally established in July 1967, works under the auspices of The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism according to the Act on Orkustofnun No. 87/2003. Other legislation describing the tasks of Orkustofnun includes the Electricity Act, No. 65/2003, the Act on Survey and Utilization of Ground Resources, No. 57/1998 and the Act on Prospecting, Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons No. 13/2001 . The main roles of Orkustofnun, the National Energy Authority (NEA) are: • To advise the government on energy issues and other resource issues that the NEA is responsible for according to legislation and to give the authorities consultations and reviews of these matters. • To carry out research on energy in Iceland, the energy resources, on-land and off-shore, and on other mineral resources in order to facilitate their quantification and to advise the authorities on sensible and economical development of the resources. • To gather data on energy resources and other mineral resources, their utilization and the energy utilization of Iceland, to preserve the data and to disseminate the information to the authorities and the public • To prepare long-term plans on the energy utilization of Iceland and the development of energy resources and other mineral resources, on-land and off-shore • To facilitate the cooperation of parties that conduct energy research and the coordination of the research projects • To license and monitor the implementation of licenses granted for research and utilization of mineral and energy resources, the alteration of water courses and construction of dams and dykes, and the operation of power stations and other large energy facilities • To regulate the energy grid system • To administer the Energy Fund Main gaps: Not specified Network type: Thematic observations

Oil and Gas
16. Vegagerðin ‐ The Icelandic Road Administration (Vegagerðin)

The Icelandic Road Administrations main function is to maintain and develop roads in Iceland. Research and development has always been a part of the Road Administrations functions. Main gaps: Access to metadata Network type: ‐ Thematic observations ‐ Field stations ‐ Community based observations

Metals pollution
17. Lake Myvatn and the River Laxá

The aim is to monitor the Lake Myvatn and the river Laxá ecosystem for (1) detecting trends, (2) detecting background variability in the system, (3) assess the efficiency of management measures, (4) observe perturbations in order to generate hypotheses about causal relationships.

Biological effects Biology Populations Catchment studies Fish Spatial trends Environmental management Mining Waterbirds Modelling Biodiversity Arctic Local pollution Food webs Sediments Diet Temporal trends Ecosystems