Starri Heiðmarsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, AC3

Starri Heiðmarsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, AC3


Position: Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Island


The Icelandic Institute of Natural History is a public institution which conducts basic and applied research on the nature of Iceland, with a focus on botany, ecology, taxonomy, geology and zoology. It maintains scientific specimen collections and databases, assembles literature on the natural history of Iceland and operates the Icelandic Bird-Ringing Scheme. The institute runs, in a cooperation with the university of Akureyri, a molecular laboratory.

Starri Heiðmarsson is a lichenologist. He studies lichens of Iceland and in cooperation with others he does research on bacteria associated with lichens and the taxonomy and phylogeny of Verrucariaceae. He furthermore is involved in monitoring plant succession on nunataks in Breiðamerkurjökull outlet glacier, a study which has been ongoing since 1965, and established a GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) site in northern Iceland in 2008. Starri is a member of the „Flora group“ within CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna).

As a botanist I am keen on assisting in showing the practical usage of lichens and club mosses that grow in Iceland.

Cetrarioid lichens have for long been utilised in Iceland as food and folk medicin. The within species variation in especially Cetraria islandica is puzzling and its chemistry is variate. It is therefore of great interest to study thoroughly the morphological variation and link it with chemical profiling of the individual specimens. Data from the project will furthermore give possibilities of examining effect of habitat and climate on the variation within individual species.