Projects & Collaborators

Scientific Advisory Board 

Patrick Heidkamp, Ph.D.                                          

Professor of Geography, Southern Connecticut State University             

Dr. Heidkamp has been bringing students to Skálanes as part of an annual summer study abroad trip to Iceland, since 2011. His primary research interest focuses on transdisciplinary engagement with the blue economy and just sustainability transitions in the coastal zone. In addition to his primary appointment as a Professor in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University, he is an affiliated faculty member of the University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland, and a founding member of the UArctic Thematic Network on the Blue Economy and the Arctic (TN BlueArctic).

Timothy Lane, Ph.D.                                                                         

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Liverpool John Moores University

Dr Lane has been coming to Skálanes since 2016, bringing students on the LJMU BSc Geography and BSc Climate Change Programmes. His research focuses on environmental and glacier reconstruction across the Arctic and sub-Arctic, based on geomorphological mapping, surface exposure dating, and lake coring. He has conducted fieldwork in Greenland, Norway, USA, and Iceland.

Rannveig Þórhallsdóttir, archaeologist, MA, Teacher at the High School of Egilsstaðir. Rannveig is also currently working on her PhD at the University of Iceland. She works part time as a field archaeologist.

Rannveig is the head of archaeology research at Skálanes. Rannveig is fascinated with the settlement period of Iceland. She is currently doing her post-graduate research at the University of Iceland, „Millennium by the Atlantic Ocean” on The Skálanes farm mound. In that research Rannveig is looking at a millennium of living conditions by researching the aDNA of bacteria, plants and animals found there. She was a volunteer at the rescue excavation of “The Mountain Woman” in 2004 and worked from 2016-2019 at the Viking Age site in Stöð in Stöðvarfjörður. Rannveig started her own company Sagnabrunnur in 2008 and does contractual archaeological registration through that. In the recent years Rannveig has been working with Ragnheiður Traustadóttir at Antikva, especially on the research of Fjordur (2020-2022), where 4 pagan graves were found from around 1000 AD.

Dr. Emmett Smith (Assistant Professor at Earlham College)
Emmett’s favourite molecule is DNA. DNA is very stable and can persist within bones for hundreds of thousands of years! DNA is also stable in the general environment in places such as soil and water. Emmett is interested in studying this environmental DNA (eDNA). eDNA can tell us many things about the different types of organisms that live in a particular place. Together with Earlham undergraduates and colleague Charlie Peck, Emmett is building a long-term data set of the soil microbiome at the retreating glacier Sóheimajökull to learn how the microbiome influences soil neogenesis in the sub-Arctic. Emmett is working with collaborators at Southern Connecticut State University and Liverpool John Moores University to survey eDNA in the fjord of Seyðisfjörður, investigating what animals live there and how they might be impacted by microplastics, fishing, and cruise ships.


Charlie Peck, Ph.D.
Professor, Computer Science, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, US
Co-leader of Earlham’s Icelandic Field Studies program with Dr. Emmett Smith

Charlie is an applied computer scientist, working with biologists, archaeologists, ecologists, and other ologists to apply technology to their research projects. Our group at Earlham designs and builds low-cost near-earth survey equipment based on UAVs, tools for sampling and extracting modern and ancient DNA from the environment, and software workflows for analyzing a wide variety of genetic and image data. Charlie started bringing groups of students to Skalanes in 2013 and since then has developed a series of collaborations with Oli, Rannveig, and the other scientists working at Skalanes. Given his druthers he would move to Seydisfjordur and join the local search and rescue crew.

Affiliated Researchers

Dr. Scott Graves (Southern Connecticut State University)  

Research Interests:  

– Coastal Ecology and Geology

– µUAS Aerial photography and remote sensing.

– Place-based (community) citizen science


Dr. Emma Cross (Southern Connecticut State University)    

Research Interests: 

– Marine ecology

– Biodiversity

– Water quality


Dr. Seth Hopper (Earlham College)      (Name & University)

Research Interests:  

– Climate monitoring

– Locally sourced renewable energy

– Archeological mapping