Around 360 earthquakes were detected in Iceland in the week beginning 4 December, which is pretty normal. Earthquakes can give hints about impending volcanic eruptions so they’re important to Icelanders – and, by implication, to Icelandic waders too.
In the long term, volcanic ash provides the nutrients that improve fertility, as you can read in How volcanic eruptions help waders, but short-term effects can be seriously negative. This was what Tómas Gunnarsson discovered when he went out to count godwit broods at what should have been the height of the 2011 breeding season. He found only two pairs that showed signs of having broods. Was the Grímsvötn eruption between 21 and 28 May to blame?
Iceland hosts internationally important breeding populations of several wader species, including almost the entire population of the islandica subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits. For several years, wader biologists in Iceland have been monitoring…
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