Marine animals

Over 2,500 marine animal species have been found in Iceland’s exclusive economic zone, but there are certainly many more. Species diversity within some animal phyla in Icelandic waters is still poorly understood. Presumably, however, species fall under different phyla in similar proportions as elsewhere in the world. Information on marine animal species in Icelandic waters can be found on animal fact sheets on the IINH website.

The largest marine animal research project in which the IINH is involved is the Benthic Invertebrates of Icelandic Waters (BioIce) project, which began in 1992 and is still ongoing. The main objective of the project is to investigate what benthic invertebrate species live within Iceland’s exclusive economic zone and to estimate these species’ prevalence and distribution. The project involves multinational cooperation between taxonomists in classifying the various groups of marine invertebrates.

Benthic Invertebrates in Icealndic waters: the Bioice programme 2005 (in Icelandic with English abstract) 2005. Editor Guðmundur Víðir Helgason. Reykjavík: BIOICE. (

BIOICE Station List (pdf)

Gudmundsson,G. 2000. The importance of research: the BIOICE Research Program. In Arctic Flora and Fauna. An introduction to biodiversity, status and conserveation. CAFF, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna.

Gudmundsson, G. 2001. The BIOICE research program maps benthic biodiversity, pp.184-185, in CAFF, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Status and Conservation. Helsinki, Edita.

Guðmundur Guðmundsson, Jón Gunnar Ottósson og Guðmundur Víðir Helgason 2014. (in Icelandic) Benthic Ivertebrates in Icelandic Waters (BIOICE) (pdf, 4,4 MB). Náttúrufræðistofnun, NÍ-14004. Garðabær: Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands.(

Helgason, G. V., J. Svavarsson, S. A. Steingrimsson, and G. Gudmundsson 2002. The BIOICE project, Benthich Invertebrates of Icelandic waters, abstract for the 37th European Marine Biology Symposium, p. 81.