CODENET Research visit to Iceland

Ian Probert (Caen) and Kerstin Muller (NHM) visited the Heimaey Research Station, off SW Iceland in July 1999 to attempt isolations from the Arctic population of Coccolithus pelagicus and to study the environment it was living in. This is an area well known for large coccolithophorid blooms in summer, as shown in satellite images (from the EHUX web site). The research work was made possible by collaboration with Hafstein Gudfinsson, of the Vestmanneiyjar Branch of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute. We are very grateful to him for allowing access to the facilities at the MRI, for assistance with sampling, and for his hospitality during our stay on the Westman Islands.

Three sampling trips off Heimaey were made possible on a small research vessel run by Heimaey Research Station. Water samples from the surface and greater depths were collected east and north west off the island in the period from 14th to 21st July 1999. The water depths ranged from about 40 to 100 meters. On the 14th and 16th July three stations east of Heimaey were studied. On the 21st July three further locations north west of the island were investigated.
At each station plankton net sampling was used to collect zooplankton (HG) and live nannoplankton (IP), and niskin bottles were used to retrieve water for filtration for phytoplankton populations (KM). In addition a CTD was used to record temperature and salinity profiles, and Secchi depth was recorded (HG).

Initial results
The water contained very abundant coccolithophore populations together with diatoms and grazing copepods, as illustrated here. Satellite data from July 1999 indicates that local blooms f E. huxleyi were occurrin t in the area at the time. supports the inference First rate filter samples were collected, and numerous strains of C. pelagicus and E. huxleyi were isolated and are growing well in Caen.

Typical appearance of filter with abundant coccolith and diatom debris, plus copepod pellet; 111-27 89K

detail of pellet, note broken coccoliths
111-28 76K

111-23 66

Coccolithus pelagicus and Emiliania huxleyi coccospheres
111-30 55K

C. pelagicus coccosphere next to copepod limb
111-24 52K

detail of copepod limbs
111-25 52K

Holococcolith of C. pelagicus
112-1 33K

Emiliania huxleyi, type B
111-22 61K

Syracosphaera molischii
111-21 61K

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Samples collected by Kerstin Muller, photos by Jeremy Young Please send comments, corrections, or contributions to either of us.