The Iceland Project: Biodiversity, Conservation and Culture

Jokulsarlon lake Iceland
Meeting Location              Reykjavik,Iceland
 Program Dates        Summer 2018: June 16 - July 28, 2018
 Accommodations    Primarily camping, occasional youth hostel or rural lodge
 Language    English instruction
 Courses    ESCI 437A, ESCI 437B, ESCI 437C
 Credits    15 quarter credits or 10 semester credits
 Prerequisites    One college level course of ecology or similar                  
   18 years of age

   Iceland Program Costs, Summer 2018
   $  150       Application Fee
   $4500       Program Fee
   $3500       Estimated In-Country Group Fee
   $1000       Estimated Airfare/Visa
   $1300       Estimated Food Money/Personal Spending
   $10450    Total Estimated Cost

  Summer 2018: Program fees due by May 1, 2018

         Snæfellsjökull in the Morning Humpback stellwagen edit

Atlantic Puffin Latrabjarg Iceland 05c Join us in Iceland, the land of fire and ice! Settled by Viking explorers in the early 9th century, this seemingly inhospitable land is brimming with life while emerging as a global leader in renewable energy and sustainability. From the active volcanic zones that power geothermal systems to the glaciers and fjords, the diverse landscape of Iceland is breathtaking. Team members will learn firsthand about the wildlife of Iceland, the environmental processes and ecological importance of the various biomes found here, and the human dimensions of conservation and sustainability. We will also emphasize conservation and management of marine and terrestrial species found in Iceland and the role of tourism in sustaining Iceland’s economy. Our journey will take us from the capital of Reykjavik up to the fjords, to coastal regions teeming with seabirds and marine mammals, into the interior where we will visit the ruins of ancient settlements, and to the rapidly disappearing glaciers. The wide-ranging field experiences and interaction with scientists, farmers, and conservation organizations will give us a deep understanding of the diversity and complexity of Iceland’s ecosystems, conservation strategies, relationship with nature, and how ecosystem services can shape an economy.

Skaftafell National Park Svartifoss 6817603945


Artic fox Iceland


Team members will take part in hands-on investigations of the ecology and conservation of Iceland’s species and communities. Our first objective is to become familiar with the natural history of this country, its climate, geography, and flora and fauna. We will traverse the country visiting the glaciers in Vatnajökull National Park where we will discover the unique geology of the area, study plant colonization in deglaciating fragile tundra terrains, and explore glacial lagoons. From here we will make our way to Hveragerdi, which lies in an important rift zone. Next we will visit Þingvellir National Park where we will focus on lake ecology, speciation, and habitat specialization. Before reaching Snaefellsnes National Park, where puffins and other sea birds dominate the landscape, we will visit geothermal farms and whaling villages to explore how the people of Iceland thrive in a seemingly inhospitable climate. We finish in the northern fjiords, home of the artic fox. Here we will work with the Arctic Fox Center to conduct ecological research on the ecology and behavior of one of Iceland’s iconic species. Throughout this course we will study the behavior, ecology, interactions, patterns of diversity, and ecological niches of the species we encounter, and the challenges they are facing.


PhD in Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, 2008
Jennifer Verdolin is a behavioral ecologist and science communicator dedicated to solving real-world conservation concerns. Her research interests focus on social behavior, individual differences in behavior, and the role behavior plays in conservation and management of species. She has studied prairie dogs, mouse lemurs, capuchin monkeys, and sea turtles. Jennifer currently holds a joint appointment as Lecturer at the University of Redlands in California and Adjunct Professor at Duke University in North Carolina. In addition to teaching, Jennifer is committed to outreach and science communication and she does this through popular science writing, radio, and television. Jennifer leads our Iceland Project.