Principal characteristics of the facility and of the support offered to users:
The main attractions of the SMC are twofold, a. a unique collection of benthic fauna systematically collected in the Arctic/North Atlantic Oceans during the past five years. b. A wet-lab with running exceptionally clean sea water coming from a 50m deep well in the lava field on the seashore. a. The benthic fauna collection results from 11 sampling expeditions undertaken since 1992 by marine research vessels from three nations, as a part of BIOICE, an international research project. The sampling area covers about 800.000km2 of ocean, reaching across the Greenland-Iceland-Scotland ridge which separates the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic. This area varies greatly in character such as depth (20-3000m), temperature (less than -0.5r to
80C) and type of bottom. The SMC invertebrate collection is unique on a world scale in that it contains systematically collected samples from such a large and diverse area of northern waters.
Since 1992 some 950 composite samples have been systematically collected according to a randomised protocol initially adopted by the BIOICE scientific council. The collection of samples is still ongoing. Initial stages of sorting have been carried out, providing an accessible array of some 50 major taxa of benthic invertebrates, that are systematically stored in about 20.000 vials The scientists can also gain access to the type material which has been fully identified.
b. Studies on the biological effects of marine pollutants in low quantities are often hampered by the lack of access to clean seawater. A well reaching 50m into the lavafield on the shore below the SMC provides exceptionally clean seawater, which is filtered through the lava. This provides excellent facilities for biological studies in the wet-lab recently opened at the SMC.
The SMC is run conjointly by the major marine biological research institutes in Iceland. It provides laboratories with modern first-class microscopes, drawing tubes, photographic equipment, storing and recording facilities etc. Users of the SMC have access to the scientists, equipment, collections and libraries of the affiliated institutions. Comfortable accommodation for visiting scientists is offered on the premises. The permanent staff consists of 4 scientists and 12 research assistants. Quantity of access being offered and number of users who may benefit: The SMC is prepared to offer about 100 scientists access in a 36 month period, - amounting to 700 man-days per year, or 2100 man-days in the three-year period.