|Jill, Jackie, Aimee, Allison, Mara, Kyrstin & Anika|
|Sunset over Greenland|
Since we have been here for several days now, I have had a chance to see more of the unique landscape of Iceland. The island is geologically young and was formed from volcanic eruptions from a giant volcanic hot spot that sits on the ridge of the Eurasian and American tectonic plates, which are constantly moving away from each other. This volcanic island has geothermally-heated pools and streams that are naturally warmed as water flows underground through heated rock, warming the water before it emerges at the ground surface. Iceland is also located close to the Arctic Circle, with the capitol Reykjavík positioned at a latitude of 66° north, where it does not get very warm, even during the summer. At this high latitude, Iceland experiences incredibly long days during the summer months and even though the sun sets for a couple hours, it never gets truly dark. This midnight sun allows the locals to take advantage of being outside as much as possible.
Iceland is certainly also a very unique place to study from an ecological standpoint. Since the island is so young, the volcanic basalt is very phosphorus-rich, suggesting that the growth of many organisms here is not limited by available phosphorus (an essential nutrient for growth), but instead constrained by a lack of available nitrogen – another essential nutrient. This provides a good environment for researching nitrogen fixers, which are bacteria that can acquire
|Fields of lupine cover the hillslopes within the city and|
surrounding area, all along our drive to the field site.