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Romagnoli C.,University of Bologna | Jakobsson S.P.,Icelandic Institute of Natural History
Geomorphology | Year: 2015

Surtsey is a small volcanic island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, off the south coast of Iceland. The eruption leading to the island's emersion lasted for 3.5 yr (1963-1967) while destructive forces have been active for over 50 yr (1963-present-day) during which Surtsey has suffered rapid subaerial and submarine erosion and undergone major morphological changes. Surtsey is a well-documented modern example of the post-eruptive degradational stage of island volcanoes, and has provided the unique opportunity to continuously observe and quantify the effects of intense geomorphic processes. In this paper we focus on coastal and marine processes re-shaping the shoreline and shallow-water portions of the Surtsey complex since its formation and on the related geomorphological record. Analogies with the post-eruptive morphological evolution of recently active island volcanoes at the emerging stage, encompassing different climatic conditions, wave regimes and geological contexts, are discussed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Ingimarsdottir M.,Lund University | Ingimarsdottir M.,Icelandic Institute of Natural History | Ripa J.,Lund University | Magnusdottir T.B.,University of Iceland | Hedlund K.,Lund University
Basic and Applied Ecology | Year: 2013

Allochthonous arthropods can sustain a local food web on seemingly barren land, but are nevertheless often neglected in studies of community assembly. In the present study, we investigated primary food web assembly on nunataks (ice-free areas) in a retreating glacier in Iceland. Nunataks enable studies that take into account both the temporal factor of the assembly and the influx of allochthonous organisms. Arthropods were collected on sites of different age on five nunataks younger than 70 years, as well as the youngest parts of one old nunatak. The youngest sites had no vegetation and were dominated by detritivores and predators along with allochthonous arthropods. The arthropod biomass, that was considered established, increased with vegetation cover and site age but also differed among nunataks. To investigate whether or not the assembly of arthropods was consistent with the predictions of assembly rules, we tested whether, (1) the proportion of each trophic level changed non-randomly, (2) predator-prey ratio remained constant, and (3) larger species replaced smaller ones. We could only verify that proportions of trophic levels changed non-randomly. As assembly rules only apply for established organisms, it is possible that difficulties in determining whether e.g. generalist predators were established or not may affect the outcome of analyses of assembly rules. It is thus important to be aware that unintentional inclusion of allochthonous arthropods in models of community assembly may affect whether or not the community can be explained and predicted by assembly rules. © 2013 Gesellschaft für Ökologie.

Ingimundardottir G.V.,Lund University | Ingimundardottir G.V.,Icelandic Institute of Natural History | Weibull H.,Naturcentrum AB | Cronberg N.,Lund University
Biogeosciences | Year: 2014

The island Surtsey was formed in a volcanic eruption south of Iceland in 1963-1967 and has since then been protected and monitored by scientists. The first two moss species were found on Surtsey as early as 1967 and several new bryophyte species were discovered every year until 1973 when regular sampling ended. Systematic bryophyte inventories in a grid of 100m×100m quadrats were made in 1971 and 1972: the number of observed species doubled, with 36 species found in 1971 and 72 species in 1972. Here we report results from an inventory in 2008, when every other of the grid's quadrats were searched for bryophytes. Despite lower sampling intensity than in 1972, distributional expansion and contraction of earlier colonists was revealed as well as the presence of new colonists. A total of 38 species were discovered, 15 of those were not encountered in 1972 and eight had never been reported from Surtsey before (Bryum elegans, Ceratodon heterophyllus, Didymodon rigidulus, Eurhynchium praelongum, Schistidium confertum, S. papillosum, Tortula hoppeana and T. muralis). Habitat loss due to erosion and reduced thermal activity in combination with successional vegetation changes are likely to have played a significant role in the decline of some bryophyte species which were abundant in 1972 (Leptobryum pyriforme, Schistidium apocarpum coll., Funaria hygrometrica, Philonotis spp., Pohlia spp, Schistidium strictum, Sanionia uncinata) while others have continued to thrive and expand (e.g. Schistidium maritimum, Racomitrium lanuginosum, R. ericoides, R. fasciculare and Bryum argenteum). Some species (especially Bryum spp.) benefit from the formation of new habitats, such as grassland within a gull colony, which was established in 1984. Several newcomers are rarely producing sporophytes on Iceland and are unlikely to have been dispersed by airborne spores. They are more likely to have been introduced to Surtsey by seagulls in the form of vegetative fragments or dispersal agents (Bryum elegans, Didymodon rigidulus, Eurhynchium praelongum, Ceratodon heterophyllus and Ulota phyllantha). The establishment of the gull colony also means that leakage of nutrients from the nesting area is, at least locally, downplaying the relative importance of nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria growing in bryophyte shoots. © 2014 Author(s).

Brynjolfsson S.,Icelandic Institute of Natural History | Schomacker A.,e Arctic University of Norway | Korsgaard N.J.,Copenhagen University | Korsgaard N.J.,University of Iceland | And 2 more authors.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2016

Surface elevation and volume changes of the Drangajökull surge-type glaciers, Reykjarfjarðarjökull and Leirufjarðarjökull, were studied by comparing digital elevation models that pre-date and post-date their most recent surges. Annual glacier-frontal measurements were used to estimate average ice velocities during the last surge of the glaciers. The observations show a distinct ice discharge, most of which was from the upper reservoir areas, down to the receiving areas during the surges. The surface draw-down in the reservoir areas was usually 10–30 m during the surges, while the thickening of the receiving areas was significantly more variable, on the order of 10–120 m. Despite a negative geodetic net mass balance derived from the digital elevation models, the reservoir areas have been gaining mass since the surge terminations. This surface thickening along with considerable ablation of the receiving areas will most likely return the glacier surface profiles to the pre-surge stage. Our results indicate that (a) greatest surface thinning in the upper reservoir areas of Drangajökull rather than proximal to the equilibrium line during Vatnajökull surges and (b) development of Drangajökull surges that resembles Svalbard surge-type glaciers rather than Vatnajökull surge-type glaciers. The contrasting surge characteristics could be explained by differences in glacier geometry, topography and substratum of the Drangajökull and Vatnajökull surge-type glaciers. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Del Moral R.,University of Washington | Magnusson B.,Icelandic Institute of Natural History
Biogeosciences | Year: 2014

Surtsey and Mount St. Helens are celebrated but very different volcanoes. Permanent plots allow for comparisons that reveal mechanisms that control succession and its rate and suggest general principles. We estimated rates from structure development, species composition using detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), changes in Euclidean distance (ED) of DCA vectors, and by principal components analysis (PCA) of DCA. On Surtsey, rates determined from DCA trajectory analyses decreased as follows: gull colony on lava with sand > gull colony on lava, no sand g« lava with sand > sand spit > block lava > tephra. On Mount St. Helens, plots on lahar deposits near woodlands were best developed. The succession rates of open meadows declined as follows: Lupinus-dominated pumice > protected ridge with Lupinus > other pumice and blasted sites > isolated lahar meadows > barren plain. Despite the prominent contrasts between the volcanoes, we found several common themes. Isolation restricted the number of colonists on Surtsey and to a lesser degree on Mount St. Helens. Nutrient input from outside the system was crucial. On Surtsey, seabirds fashioned very fertile substrates, while on Mount St. Helens wind brought a sparse nutrient rain, then Lupinus enhanced fertility to promote succession. Environmental stress limits succession in both cases. On Surtsey, bare lava, compacted tephra and infertile sands restrict development. On Mount St. Helens, exposure to wind and infertility slow succession. © 2014 Author(s).

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