Staff in the pelagic division concentrate on the biology of the water column above the seafloor and all the way to the surface.  Therefore, the various studies span a wide range of subject matter from the largest animals in existence all the way to zooplankton (planktonic animals) that is barely visible to the naked eye.

Zooplankton plays a critical role in the marine environment, part of which is their importance as prey for all fish stocks at the early stages of their life. Pelagic fish stocks and baleen whales subsist almost entirely on zooplankton, though some species feed on other prey for part of the year. Studies of zooplankton aim to improve the biological understanding of different species as well as to describe the species composition of the various marine regions and variations in this composition and animal density. In addition, new methods are in constant development to better use sonar to measure the larger krill species (euphausids).

Those studies focused on pelagic fish species are the most extensive in the division. The most emphasis is placed on monitoring capelin, summer-spawning herring, Norwegian-Icelandic spring-spawning herring, blue whiting, mackerel, and lumpfish, but there are also critical studies of tuna and mesopelagic fish (ex. lanternfish and Mueller’s pearlside). The largest projects aim to estimate the size and fishing tolerance of the fish stocks, but also to improve our understanding of their biology, distribution, and migrations. Furthermore, some studies focus on the interactions between fish species and their connections with zooplankton and marine mammals.

Studies of marine mammals are also comprehensive and, as with fish stocks, the main projects are estimation of stock size and population trends in the various mammals found in Icelandic waters, including all whale species and the two seal species that bear their young in Iceland. At the same time, there are studies of the biology, migrations, and behavior of marine mammals.

Many of the pelagic division’s projects also try to describe the environmental processes that are in constant change such as ocean warming. Staff in this division work closely with staff of other divisions who are experts in other relevant fields of study.

Name Job Title Email
Agnar Már Sigurðsson Researcher
Agnar Már Sigurðsson

Specialisation: sampling - age verification

Agnes Eydal Biologist

Specialisation: zooplankton

Alice Benoit-Cattin Chemist

Starfssvið: efnamælingar

Andreas Macrander Oceanographer
Andreas Macrander

Starfssvið: haffræði

Anna Heiða Ólafsdóttir Fisheries Biologist
Anna Heiða Ólafsdóttir
Fisheries Biologist

Specialisation: pelagic ecosystem - mackerel - blue whiting - somatic growth - fisheries acoustics


Ástþór Gíslason Marine Biologist
Ástþór Gíslason
Marine Biologist

Specialisation: Zooplankton ecology, seasonal dynamics, overwintering strategies and life history of zooplankton, trophic relationships and feeding of planktivorous fish, long-term changes of marine zooplankton, automatic identification of zooplankton (ZooImage), distribution of zooplankton by acoustics and VPR (Video Plankton Recorder.

Education: PhD frá University of Oslo, 2002
MSc frá University of Oslo, 1987
MA frá University of Oslo, 1978


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Birkir Bárðarson Fisheries Biologist
Birkir Bárðarson
Fisheries Biologist

Specialisation: capelin

Björn Sigurðarson Electronics Engineer
Björn Sigurðarson
Electronics Engineer
Christophe Pampoulie Marine Genomics and Genetics
Christophe Pampoulie
Marine Genomics and Genetics

Specialisation: marine genetics and genomics


Eric dos Santos Biologist
Eric dos Santos

Specialisation: Seal research and general sampling and data collection about Icelandic marine mammals

Education: MSc in biology from the Universtiy of Iceland

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Eygló Ólafsdóttir Field Biologist
Eygló Ólafsdóttir
Field Biologist
Filipa Isabel Pereira Samarra Ecologist
Filipa Isabel Pereira Samarra

Specialisation: Behavioural ecology focusing particularly on killer whale social, foraging and acoustic behaviour, trophic ecology and population biology

Menntun: PhD in Biology, University of St Andrews (UK) 2007-2011 
MSc in Environmental Biology (with Distinction), University of St Andrews (UK) 2004-2005 
BS in Biology, University of the Azores (Portugal) 2000-2004

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Gísli Arnór Víkingsson Marine Biologist
Gísli Arnór Víkingsson
Marine Biologist

Specialisation: Cetacean research, whales, dolphins, porpoises, biology, population assessment, ecology, behaviour

Education: PhD (Baleen whale ecology), University of Tromsø, 2016
MSc in Zoology (Behavioural Ecology), University of Copenhagen, 1985
B.S. in Biology, University of Iceland, 1979


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Guðmundur Óskarsson Head of Division
Guðmundur Óskarsson
Head of Division

Specialisation: herring - pelagic biota

Guðrún Finnbogadóttir Biologist
Guðrún Finnbogadóttir

Specialisation: age verification

Hafsteinn Grétar Guðfinnsson Marine Biologist
Hafsteinn Grétar Guðfinnsson
Marine Biologist

Specialisation: phytoplankton

Halldór Tyrfingsson Biologist
Halldór Tyrfingsson
Hildur Pétursdóttir Marine Ecologist
Hildur Pétursdóttir
Marine Ecologist

Specialisation: zooplankton

Höskuldur Björnsson Engineer
Höskuldur Björnsson

Specialisation: stock assessment (saithe, catfish)

Jacek Sliwinski Technician
James Kennedy Fisheries Biologist
James Kennedy
Fisheries Biologist

Specialisation:: lumpfish - lumpsucker 


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Orcid profile

Kristinn Guðmundsson Marine Biologist
Kristinn Guðmundsson
Marine Biologist

Specialisation: marine ecology - phytoplankton/microbes - primary productivity - chlorophyll-a/pigments - ocean colours/satellite data - underway flow-through measurements



Kristinn Guðnason Engineer

Starfssvið: líkanagerð

Kristín Jóhanna Valsdóttir Náttúrufræðingur
Kristín Jóhanna Valsdóttir

Specialisation: phytoplankton

Lísa Anne Libungan Marine Ecologist
Lísa Anne Libungan
Marine Ecologist

Specialisation: zooplankton - herring - ecology



Magnús Danielsen Náttúrufræðingur
Magnús Danielsen

Specialisation: hydrographic measurements

Páll Reynisson Engineer

Starfssvið: bergmálstækni

Ragnhildur Ólafsdóttir Researcher
Ragnhildur Ólafsdóttir

Specialisation: sampling - age verification

Sandra Magdalena Granquist Animal Behaviour Scientist and Ecologist
Sandra Magdalena Granquist
Animal Behaviour Scientist and Ecologist

Specialisation: seals


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Sigurður Þór Jónsson Fisheries Biologist
Sigurður Þór Jónsson
Fisheries Biologist

Specialisation:: capelin

Sigurvin Bjarnason Biologist

Specialisation: Capelin- Biology and acoustics

Education: MSc in Marine biology from the University of Iceland 2016


Research Gate

Sólrún Sigurgeirsdóttir Biologist
Sólrún Sigurgeirsdóttir

Specialisation: zooplankton

Sólveig Rósa Ólafsdóttir Efnafræðingur
Sólveig Rósa Ólafsdóttir
Svandís Eva Aradóttir Biologist
Svandís Eva Aradóttir

Starfssvið: sýnavinnsla

Sverrir Daníel Halldórsson Biologist
Sverrir Daníel Halldórsson

Specialisation: whales


Teresa Sofia Giesta da Silva Researcher
Teresa Sofia Giesta da Silva

Specialisation: zooplankton

Valerie Chosson Biologist

Specialisation:: genetics - whales - whale photo ID


Warsha Singh Ecologist
Þorvaldur Gunnlaugsson Specialist
Þorvaldur Gunnlaugsson

Specialisation: whales - stock assessment


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