öll réttindi áskilin - myndir af starfsfólki Náttúrufræðistofnunar Íslands til notkunar á heimasíðu stofnunarinnar og vegna greinaskrifa starfsfólks. Önnur notkun háð leyfi höfundar. Allt framsal til 3ja aðila óheimilt.

Dr. Aevar Petersen – Icelandic birds, mainly seabird population changes

The talk will focus on three main issues; (1) introduction to the Icelandic bird fauna; (2) seabirds and factors influencing population changes; and (3) seabird monitoring as a conservation tool. The breeding bird fauna of Iceland has rather few species, about 80, but this is made up in numbers. The principal bird groups are anseriform species, shorebirds, and seabirds. Passerines are relatively few. Two species have become extinct; Great Auk and Waterrail. During recent decades, many seabird populations have declined, some seriously. Different factors are responsible related to species, but deficiency of Sandlance related to climate change has attracted most attention. Other mortality factors have also been considered, namely hunting and harvest, discards from the fishing fleet, bycatch, and contamination. Some seabirds have benefitted from changes in fish populations. Research has focused on most factors, although many questions are still unanswered. A national monitoring program is not in place on Icelandic birds. Seabird monitoring has depended mostly on a few interested individuals. Of the 23 species of seabirds breeding in Iceland, some still have no monitoring program, most partial, but the entire population is covered in some species.

Dr. Aevar Petersen received his B.Sc (Honours) from Aberdeen U. , Scotland.  Thesis on food and gut length of purple sandpipers.  D.Phil. from Oxford U., England.  Doctoral thesis on population ecology of black guillemots.  He is an ornithologist with fieldwork experience centered on Iceland.  Field biologist as well as museum curator for decades.  Main research interests include population and monitoring studies, distributional, banding, geolocator and GPS studies, climate change and contaminants, relationship of humans and nature such as harvesting of wild birds.  Primary focus of research on seabirds, working on many other species, incl. loons, shorebirds, passerines, and vagrant mammals (whales, walrus, polar bear, bats).  Curator and Director of Icelandic Institute of Natural History from 1978, retiring in May 2013.  In his later affiliation with the Institute, he performed research as Chief Scientist.  For decades, was advisory on bird conservation and management issues to government. Long experience in numerous committee works, domestic incl. revising conservation legislation, Nordic, and international.  Icelandic National Representative of the Arctic Council’s CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) working group since inauguration 1993 until 2011, twice as Chair.

Selected bibliography (since 2010)


  • Egevang, C., I.J. Stenhouse, R.A. Phillips, Ævar Petersen, J.W. Fox & J.R.D. Silk 2010. Tracking of Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea reveals longest animal migration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(5): 2078-2081.
  • Ævar Petersen 2010. [The Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla in Breiðafjörður (NW-Iceland): Colony distribution, population changes, historical perspectives and census techniques.] Náttúrufræðingurinn 79(1-4): 37-48. (Icel., Engl. summ.).
  • Ævar Petersen 2010. [The bird life of island Flatey á Skjálfanda (NE-Iceland).] Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands NÍ-10001. 44 pp. (Icel., Engl. summ.).
  • Aevar Petersen 2010. Emerging issues and challenges. Pp. 15-16 in: CAFF 2010. Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010. Selected indicators of change. CAFF, Akureyri. 121 pp.
  • Guðmundur Guðmundsson, S.D. Brewington, T.H. McGovern & Ævar Petersen 2010. A catalogue of bird bones: an exercise in semantic web practice. Pp. 171-175 in: P.L. Nimis & R. Vignes Lebbe (eds). Tools for identifying biodiversity: Progress and Problems. Proceedings of the Int. Congr., Paris, September 20-22, 2010. Trieste, Italy. xii+455 pp.


  • Leat, E.H.K., S. Bourgeon, K. Borgå, H. Strøm, S.-A. Hanssen, G.W. Gabrielsen, Ævar Petersen, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, A.T. Fisk, S. Ellis, J.-O. Bustnes & R.W. Furness 2011. Effects of environmental exposure and diet on levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in eggs of a top predator in the North Atlantic in 1980 and 2008. Environmental Pollution 159: 1222-1228. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.01.036.
  • Irons, D., M. Svoboda, M. Gill & Aevar Petersen 2011. Circumpolar Seabird Information Network (SIN) Concept Paper. CAFF Strategy Series Report no. 2. 12 pp.
  • Sverrir Thorstensen, Ævar Petersen, Þórey Ketilsdóttir & Snævarr Ö. Georgsson 2011. [Birdlife in Eyjafjardará river delta 2010.] Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands NÍ-11003. 79 pp. (Icel., Engl. summ.).
  • Ævar Petersen 2011. [Local names in Mánáreyjar island.] Pp. 247-256 in: Guðrún Kvaran, Hallgrímur J. Ámundason & Svavar Sigmundsson (eds). Fjöruskeljar (Afmælisrit til heiðurs Jónínu Hafsteinsdóttur sjötugri 29. mars 2011). Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum. Rit 81. 256 pp. (Icel.).
  • Tiedemann, R., K.B. Paulus, K. Havenstein, Sverrir Thorstensen, Ævar Petersen, P. Lyngs & M.C. Milinkovitch 2011. Alien eggs in duck nests: brood parasitism or a help from Grandma? Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05158.x.
  • Aevar Petersen 2011. Iceland. Bls. 58-59, Chapter 5, Distribution and status in Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Norway, Russia, Svalbard, Greenland and the western Atlantic, in: M. Harris & S. Wanless. The Puffin. T. & A.D. Poyser, London. 256 pp.
  • Ellen Magnúsdóttir, E.H.K. Leat, S. Bourgeon, H. Strøm, Ævar Petersen, R.A. Phillips, S.A. Hanssen, J.O. Bustnes, Páll Hersteinsson & R.W. Furness 2011. Wintering areas of Great Skuas Stercorarius skua breeding in Scotland, Iceland and Norway. Bird Study iFirst: 1-9./Bird Study 59(1): 1-9.
  • Ævar Petersen & Kristinn H. Skarphéðinsson 2011. [Explanatory notes to the book Íslenskir fuglar by Benedikt Gröndal]. Pp. 221-233. Crymogea, Reykjavík. 255 pp. (Icel.).
  • Þorkell L. Þórarinsson, Ævar Petersen, Árni Einarsson, Halldór W. Stefánsson, Yann Kolbeinsson, Róbert A. Stefánsson, Böðvar Þórisson & Þórdís V. Bragadóttir 2011. [Population size and distribution of the Horned Grebe in Iceland 2004-2005.] Bliki 31: 31-35. (Icel., Engl. summ.).


  • Bourgeon, S., E.H.K. Leat, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, A.T. Fisk, R.W. Furness, H. Strøm, S.A. Hanssen, Ævar Petersen, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, K. Borgå, G.W. Gabrielsen & J.O. Bustnes 2012. Individual variation in biomarkers of health: influence of persistent organic pollutants in Great Skuas (Stercorarius skua) breeding at different geographical locations. Environmental Research 118: 31-39. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.02.012.


  • Sonne, C., F.F. Rigét, E.H.K. Leat, S. Bourgeon, K. Borgå, H. Strøm, S.A. Hanssen, G.W. Gabrielsen, Ævar Petersen, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, J.O. Bustnes, R.W. Furness & M. Kjeldgaard-Hansen 2013. Organohalogen contaminants and blood plasma clinical-chemical parameters in three colonies of North Atlantic Great Skua (Stercorarius skua). Ecotoxicol. Environ. 92: 245-251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.02.012.
  • Jón E. Jónsson, Arnthor Gardarsson, J.A. Gill, Una K. Pétursdóttir, Ævar Petersen & Tómas G. Gunnarsson 2013. Relationships between long-term demography and weather in a sub-arctic population of Common Eider. PLOS ONE 8(6). E67093. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067093.
  • Leat, E.H.K., S. Bourgeon, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, G.W. Gabrielsen, W.J. Grecian, S.A. Hanssen, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, Ævar Petersen, R.A. Phillips, H. Strøm, S. Ellis, A.T. Fisk, J.O. Bustnes, R.W. Furness & K. Borgå 2013. Influence of wintering area on persistent organic pollutants in a breeding migratory seabird. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 491: 277-293.


  • Aevar Petersen, I.K. Petersen, J. Williams, S.J. Williams & M. Stott 2014. Three-egg clutches in Red-throated Divers. British Birds 107(7): 427– 428.
  • Guðmundur Ö. Benediktsson & Aevar Petersen 2014. Red-throated Divers adopt young from adjenct territories. British Birds 107(7): 429– 430.
  • Bourgeon, S., E.H.K. Leat, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, R.W. Furness, H. Strøm, Ævar Petersen, G.W. Gabrielsen, S.A. Hanssen & J.O. Bustnes 2014. Feather corticosterone levels on wintering grounds have no carry-over effects on breeding among three populations of Great Skuas (Stercorarius skua). PlosOne 9(6) e100439, 6 pp.
  • Ævar Petersen, J.-K. Jensen, P. Jenkins, D. Bloch & Finnur Ingimarsson 2014. A review of the occurrence of bats (Chiroptera) on islands in the North East Atlantic and on North Sea installations. Acta Chiropterologica 16(1): 169-195.
  • Ellen Magnúsdóttir, E.H.K. Leat, S. Bourgeon, Jón E. Jónsson, Richard A. Phillips, H. Strøm, Ævar Petersen, S.A. Hanssen, J.O. Bustnes & R.W. Furness 2014. Activity patterns of wintering Great Skuas Stercorarius skua. Bird Study 61(2): -8. doi: 10.1080/00063657.2014.940839.
  • M. van de Pol, P. Atkinson, J. Blew, O. Crowe, S. Delany, O. Duriez, B.J. Ens, B. Hälterlein, H. Hötker, K. Laursen, K. Oosterbeek, Aevar Petersen, O. Thorup, K. Tjørve, P. Triplet & P. Yésou 2014. A global assessment of the conservation status of the nominate subspecies of Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus. Pp. 47-61 in: B.J. Ens & L.G. Underhill (eds). Conservation status of Oystercatchers around the world. International Wader Studies 20: 47-61 pp.
  • Ævar Petersen 2014. Svartþröstur aðstoðar við hreiður skógarþrasta. [A male Blackbird helper at Redwing nests.] Náttúrufr. 84(1-2): 61-64. (Icel., Engl. summ.).
  • Ævar Petersen, Sverrir Thorstensen & Böðvar Þórisson 2014. Útbreiðsla og breytingar á fjölda hvítmáfa á Íslandi. [Distribution and changes in numbers of Glaucous Gulls Larus hyperboreus breeding in Iceland.] Náttúrufr. 84(3-4): 153-163. (Icel., Engl. summ.).


  • Ævar Petersen, D. Irons, H.G. Gilchrist, G.J. Robertson, D. Boertmann, H. Strøm, M. Gavrilo, Y. Artukhin, D.S. Clausen, K.J. Kuletz & M.L. Mallory 2015. The status of Glaucous Gulls Larus hyperboreus in the Circumpolar Arctic. The Arctic 68(1): 107-120.
  • Mallory, M.L., C.M. Little, E.S. Boyd, J. Ballard, K.H. Elliott, H.G. Gilchrist, J.M. Hipfner, Ævar Petersen & D. Shutler 2015. Leucocyte profiles of Arctic marine birds: correlates of migration and breeding phenology. Conservation Physiology 3. 10.1093/conphys/cov028.
  • Bustnes, J.O., S. Bourgeon, S., E.H.K. Leat, Ellen Magnúsdóttir, H. Strøm, S.A. Hanssen, Ævar Petersen, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, K. Borgå, G.W. Gabrielsen & R.W. Furness 2015. Multiple stressors in a top predator seabird: Environmental contaminants, population health and breeding conditions. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0131769. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131769.
  • Irons, D., Ævar Petersen, T. Anker-Nilssen, Y. Artukhin, R. Barrett, D. Boertmann, M.V. Gavrilo, G. Gilchrist, Erpur S. Hansen, M. Hario, K. Kuletz, M. Mallory, F. Merkel, A. Mosbech, A.L. Labansen, B. Olsen, H. Österblom, J. Reid, G. Robertson, M. Rönkä & H. Strøm 201. Circumpolar Seabird Monitoring Plan. CAFF Monitoring Series Report No.17. 70 pp.
  • Ævar Petersen 2015. Hvítabirnir á Vestfjörðum fyrr og síðar. [Polar Bear occurrences at Vestfirðir (NW-Iceland).] Hornstrandir og Jökulfirðir (Ýmsar frásagnir af horfnu mannlífi) 5. bók: 58-77. (Icel., Engl. summ.).
  • Ævar Petersen & Guðmundur Ö. Benediktsson 2015. Vöktun íslenska lómastofnsins og loftslagsbreytingar: Áfangaskýrsla 1. [Monitoring of the Icelandic Red-throated Diver population and climate change: Progress report 1.] Greinargerð til umhverfisráðuneytis vegna styrks. [Unpubl. Report to Ministry for the Environment.] 30 bls. (Icel.).
  • Ævar Petersen 2015. Refur leikur á himbrima. [Arctic Fox outwits a Great Northern Diver.] Náttúrufr. 85(3-4): 152-154. (Icel., Engl. summ.).


  • Ævar Petersen & Sverrir Thorstensen 2016. Nýlegar rannsóknir á fuglum í Breiðafjarðareyjum með notkun ljósrita og annarra tækja. [Recent research of birds in the Breiðafjörður islands using geolocators and other tracking devices.] Breiðfirðingur 64: 174-190. (Icel.).
  • Ævar Petersen, L. Hedenäs, Kristín Jónsdóttir, Róbert A. Stefánsson & Skarphéðinn G. Þórisson 2016. Vatnamýs á Íslandi. [False lake balls from Iceland.] Náttúrufr. 86(1-2): 28-41. (Icel., Engl. summ.).

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