Surtsey Island, Iceland
This island is located approximately 32 km off the southern coast of Iceland and has a core protection area of 33.7 km2. A volcanic eruption from 1963 to 1967 created this new island, which has been protected since. This remarkable event provided the world with a pristine nature laboratory. It is protected from all human activities and will continue to provide unique and long-term information about how plants and animals grow and evolve on a new island. Scientists began studying the island in 1964. They have observed the entire process of seeds being carried by ocean currents to the arrival of moulds, bacteria, and fungi. The first vascular plant sprouted in 1965, and ten species were established within 10 years. In 2004, there were 60 species of vascular plants, 75 species of moss, 71 species of lichen, and 24 species of fungi. Of the 89 bird species recorded, 57 also live in other parts of Iceland. In the 1.41 km2 island area, 335 species of invertebrates have been discovered.