Iceland: projects/activities

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Directory entires that have specified Iceland as one of the geographic regions for the project/activity and are included in the AMAP, ENVINET, SAON and SEARCH directories. Note that the list of regions is not hierarchical, and there is no relation between regions (e.g. a record tagged with Nunavut may not be tagged with Canada). To see the full list of regions, see the regions list. To browse the catalog based on the originating country (leady party), see the list of countries.

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Displaying: 1 - 8 of 8
1. 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.

Ecosystems
2. 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

Ecosystems
3. 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
4. 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

Ecosystems
5. 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
6. International Network of Permafrost Observatories (INPO)

Coastal Module of GOOS

Ecosystems
7. Living in a spatially structured environment: evolutionary ecology of seabird-parasite interactions

The aim of this research program is to examine the response of animal populations to environmental variability at different spatial scales. We attempt to determine how individuals respond to the spatial heterogeneity of their environment, and what are the consequences of this response for the dynamics of subdivided populations. Specifically, we consider an ecological system involving biotic interactions at three levels: seabirds, their tick _Ixodes uriae_, and the microparasite _Borrelia burgdorferi_ sensu lato (Lyme disease agent). Colonies of seabirds represent discrete entities, within and among which parasites can circulate. Our previous work on this system in the norwegian arctic has enable us to show that (1) host dispersal can be affected by local conditions, (2) seabird tick populations are specialised among different host species, namely between sympatric kittiwakes _Rissa tridactyla_ and puffins _Fratercula arctica_, (3) in the kittiwake, females transmit antibodies against _Borrelia burgdorferi_ when their chicks have a high probability to be exposed to the tick vector. We propose to combine different approaches, incorporating field surveys and experiments and population genetic studies (of hosts and parasites), in order to better understand the role of local interactions and dispersal in the dynamics of such a system. The research program implies collaborations with researchers from other french groups, as well as with Canadian (Queen’s University) and Norwegian colleagues (from NINA and the University of Tromsø).

Biology Populations Epidemiology Evolutionary ecology Spatial trends Biodiversity Seabirds Ecosystems
8. 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