The 7th annual conference of the Ecological Society of Iceland (Vistfræðifélag Íslands) was held on 28th and 29th of April 2017 at Hólar in Hjaltadalur. Over 60 ecologists from all over Iceland and abroad (USA, Finland, Norway, England) came together to present their research, discuss science, and – of course – enjoy a good beer or two in the evenings. Dr. Jill Welter from St. Catherine’s University in Minneapolis, USA, was the society’s invited speaker. Two other introductory lectures were given by Dr. Bjarni K. Kristjánsson from Hólar University College and Dr. Sigurður Guðjónsson, director of the Institute of Marine and Freshwater Research (Hafrannsóknastofnun). A broad mixture of topics - from Arctic charr genetics migration routes of birds, marine invasive species and the impact of sheep grazing on vegetation – guaranteed an exciting and diverse scientific programme. A high number of students participated in the conference to present their Master’s and PhD studies in excellent talks and posters. Nia Sigrun Perron from the University of Iceland won the price for the best student’s talk with the title "Warming responses of two native Icelandic plants: Ranunculus acris and Thymus praecox ssp arcticus in geothermal areas", and Katrín Björnsdóttir, also from the University of Iceland, won with the best student’s poster "Effects of climate warming and herbivory on rate of decomposition in low and high Arctic". During the conference the attendants agreed on a statement to be sent to members of Parliament and newspapers regarding the future of science in Iceland. A link to the statement can be found on the Facebook page of Vistfræðifélag Íslands.
The social programme in the evenings after the talks was taken good care of. On Friday evening, the conference participants enjoyed the so called "Lopapeysuparty" with horse meat and fresh salmon from the grill and the special conference beer brewed by Zophonías O. Jónsson and Snorri Páll Davíðsson. On Saturday afternoon, people had the opportunity to visit the labs and aquaculture facilities in Verið in Sauðárkrókur, and afterwards there was the conference dinner at the restaurant in Hólar.
The conference was a great success and everyone had a good time in Hólar. Thanks to our students from the Aquaculture and Fish Biology Department for their help with the evening programme, and to Agnes-Katharina Kreiling, Camille Leblanc and Kári H. Árnason for doing such a great job in the organizing committee for the conference!