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Zoology of Iceland

Nature volume 140, pages 419420 (04 September 1937) | Download Citation



THE study of the zoology of Iceland has lagged behind the investigation of its geology and geography, but a new work in five volumes on the "Zoology of Iceland“should form a worthy contribution to the knowledge of a fauna of unusual interest from several points of view (Copenhagen and Reykjavik: Levin and Nunksgaard). The work will be carried out by specialists, and each part will appear as it is completed, so that publication will be discontinuous and will probably cover a period of about ten years. To subscribers parts will be sold at Kr. 1·00 per sheet, and the whole work is estimated to contain about 100–150 sheets. The two parts first to be published have been received—R. Spärck on "The Benthonic Animal Communities of the Coastal Waters", and E. Wesenberg-Lund on "Gephyrea". Both authors find that the fauna with which they deal consists mainly of an arctic and an arctic-boreal admixture, in which the latter predominates, and with which rare forms, such as the gephyrean Sipun-culus norvegicus, represent a southern fauna which may have survived from a warmer period. In summing up the conclusions of his investigation, Sparck points out that the absence of a boreal shallow-water fauna seems to indicate that in postglacial time no land connexion can have existed between Iceland, the Faroes and the continent of Europe. But the fauna itself is by no means a sparse one, since in quantity it compares favourably with the fauna of the North Sea, which is generally considered to be very productive and is richer than the corresponding faunas of East Greenland and northern Russia. This relative wealth of bottom fauna may be a dominant factor in determining the presence of a fish population, which in turn has determined the importance of the fisheries in Iceland waters.

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