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Photo of Borgthor Magnusson BORGTHOR MAGNUSSON

Borgthor Magnusson is a plant ecologist and research scientist at the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) in Reykjavik, Iceland. At ARI he is involved in research on plant succession on new and eroded land, ecology of the introduced Nootka lupin, wetland ecology and restoration, livestock grazing and environmental impact studies.

As an undergraduate in biology, Magnusson first stepped his foot on Surtsey in 1975. He worked there during that summer, and in subsequent summers, as a research assistant for Dr. Sturla Fridriksson. The stay on the new island and experiencing the early colonization of plants and birds in a remote and hostile environment had a strong influence on Magnusson's decision to become an ecologist. Surtsey is now his favorite research area, and he takes part in an expedition to the island every summer. Magnusson and his colleagues have set up a long-term study on Surtsey to closely follow plant colonization and succession and how it is affected by sea gulls breeding on the island.

Magnusson received his Ph.D. in botany from the University of Manitoba, Canada. He also earned an M.Sc. in ecology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Iceland. He worked as a high school teacher and research assistant before going to graduate school. Since 1986 he has worked as plant ecologist at the ARI in Reykjavik.

Borgthor Magnusson's publications on Surtsey include:

Magnusson, B. 1992. Soil respiration on the volcanic island Surtsey, Iceland in 1987 in relation to vegetation. Surtsey Res. Prog. Rep. X: 9-16.

Fridriksson,S. & B. Magnusson, B. 1992. Development of the ecosystem on Surtsey with references to Anak Krakatau. GeoJournal 28: 287-291.

Magnusson, B., S.H. Magnusson & J. Gudmundsson 1996. Vegetation succession on the volcanic island Surtsey. Icel.Agr.Sci. 10: 253-272. (In Icelandic with an English summary)

See Borgthor Magnusson's answers to Ask the Scientists questions.


Scientific American Frontiers
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