Our Research

The majority of our expedition members will undertake an individual project as well as helping carry out one main group project, which collectively will give an insight into the ecology and biology of an increasingly fragile region of Iceland.  This will allow for the monitoring of any changes within the environment, with the hope of developing a deeper understanding of the area and the conservation efforts taking place. These projects allow the expedition members to develop hypotheses and methodologies, overseeing projects in the field. This not only develops field work skills in their own area of expertise, but the multi-faculty nature of this expedition will also allow the students to develop skills beyond their own specialist areas.

The projects have considered matters which are both relevant and reflective of Iceland and Skálanes in particular. The group project will largely focus on species transects in order to create data sets which will aid research in future years. The group and individual projects have been designed to complement each other, by increasing the knowledge of the biodiversity and ecosystem structure within the Skálanes reserve.

Brief summaries of project topics and aims can be seen below. More detailed information will be available soon.

Monitoring the population of Arctic foxes in East Iceland

Monitoring the effects of weather on puffin behaviour

By Emma Watson


  • Investigate the effect of weather conditions on puffin foraging rates and time, prey type and success.
  • Monitor activity levels and attendance at the colony, and whether or not this is also affected by weather and time of day.
  • Document and photograph the types and size of prey brought back to the colony.
  • Conduct a count of individuals at the population to compare to previous population data gathered by previous ExSoc projects, and monitor any changes in population over the course of the study.

Examining Plastic Accumulation in Nesting Eider Duck Females

By Lotta Ruha


  • Comparing plastic accumulation between groups of female eiders that utilise different water sources to find a correlation between plastic accumulation in eider faeces and in the eiders’ drinking water source.
  • Investigating changes in plastic accumulation in the female eiders over time during nesting.
  • Generally analysing what size plastic pieces there are in the drinking water sources and what size plastics the eiders have ingested.

Group Project
Monitoring Seabird Populations (repeated annually)

Cliff counts of Kittiwakes and Fulmars


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