Arctic tern colonies are distributed around the Icelandic coastline and inland. The colonies are very common in Breiðafjörður bay and around Snæfellsnes peninsula. The arctic tern is an inshore surface feeder. During breading season it targets sandeel and other small fishes that it can get in short trips.
In recent years sandeels seem to have failed as a food source and is thought to be the main reason for the apparent breeding failure among seabirds. Research on the arctic tern was started in a large colony at Rif on Snæfellsnes in 2006 and is still ongoing on the whole Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Freydís Vigfúsdóttir (pictured below with her award-winning poster at the first World Seabird Conference in Victoria BC) did her PhD from the University of East Anglia on Arctic Terns 2009-2013. Data were collected in 2006-2011, which were all years characterized by poor chick survival. Nesting was late in some of the years, whereas in others (such as 2010 and 2012) nesting began in mid-June and chicks hatched in July, only to die off before the end of July.