Iceland: Fish and Other Fauna
The 2011 International Field Studies Program in the
Biological Sciences is offering a course in the biology
of Icelandic animals. There are no prerequisites and all
majors are welcomed. The course will focus on the fishes
of Iceland, but will also spend some time examining the
birds and invertebrates there. The course will be taught
at Hólar University College in Iceland and will give
students the opportunity to study the ecology,
physiology, and evolution of Icelandic animals in their
Hólar is in northern Iceland in the Hjaltadalur
valley of the Skagafjörđur district. The area is
renowned for horse breeding and training, and heritage
tourism. The University is near the city of Sauđárkrókur,
the second-largest town on the north coast of Iceland.
The setting at Hólar University College provides a
unique opportunity for students to study the biology of
Arctic fishes within a few miles of the Arctic Circle
while enjoying a mild climate.
CLASS: Students will receive three credits for
BIOL 399: International Field Studies. Instruction will
be over a two week period beginning June 3, 2011. Dr.
Bjarni K. Kristjánsson of the Department of Aquaculture
and Fish Biology at Hólar University College and Dr. E.
Eugene Williams of the Department of Biological
Sciences at Salisbury University will jointly teach the
course. The course will include lectures, laboratories
and field activities, including trips to Lakes Mývatn
and Thingvallavatn. Topics covered in the course include
the evolutionary ecology of Icelandic fishes, Iceland’s
unique geology and its impact on the biology of
Icelandic fishes, the evolution of Icelandic freshwater
fishes, fish physiology at the organismal, cellular and
molecular levels, mechanisms of acclimation and
adaptation, and other topics.
HOST INSTITUTION: Hólar University College traces
its roots to an agricultural school that was established
at Hólar in 1882. Over the years, the agricultural
school developed into a modern university and became
specialized to suit the needs of the region. Today,
Hólar University College is a scientific educational and
research institution offering degrees in aquaculture and
fish biology, equestrian studies (horsemanship as well
as horse breeding), and rural tourism studies.
EXCURSIONS: In addition to studying the biology of
Icelandic fish, a significant portion of the course will
focus on Icelandic culture. Three hours each week will
be devoted to studying the language of the Vikings, Old
Norse, now called Icelandic. Group trips to see the work of local artists
displayed in Skagafjörđur Library and Archives, in the
Safnahús in Sauđárkrókur, and to the Glaumbćr Folk
Museum (with an 18th
century turf-house farm) are planned.
Trips to Mývatn, Thingvallavatn, Thingvellir,
Hvalfjörđur, and the city of Blönduós are planned. We
also plan to spend two full Saturday and Saturday nights
in Reykjavik to explore the world’s most northern
capital city. Students may also enjoy horseback riding,
river rafting, and many hiking trails close to the
PHOTOS OF THE 2010 TRIP
HOUSING: Students will live in the dormitories at
Hólar University College and eat in the University
cafeteria. You will live like an Icelandic student!
|Total Estimated Costs
|Tuition for 3 credits
|Books, School Supplies(Varies by
|Personal Entertainment (varies by
COST: Tuition and fees for the 2011 BIOL 399
course are estimated to be close to $3500. Final costs
will be determined in spring 2011. The price will
include all tuition, round-trip airfare, room and board
in Iceland, all travel within Iceland, and international
health insurance. Costs not included in the program fee
are passport fees, costs for personal items purchased in
Iceland, and some miscellaneous expenses. US citizens do
not need visas to visit Iceland, but passports are
required and must be valid for three months beyond the
end of the intended stay.
SCHOLARSHIPS: Scholarship information for study
abroad programs can be found at the
Students in the sciences and mathematics should know
that the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship allows
only students in STEM fields (Science,
Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to apply for
summer study abroad programs.
Students will be admitted to the program based on a
number of factors including major (Biology majors have
priority), GPA, and class (seniors have priority).
Students should also submit the following
directly to the program director:
The application deadline is
April 1, 2011.