Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Iceland 2016 - Iceland’s Seabed Ecosystem

ISSUE DATE: 16 September 2016
STAMP SIZE: 36 x 25.5 mm
 STAMP DESIGN: Örn Smári Gíslason

Sea anemones (Actinauge sp.) are primitive multicellular sea animals of the Coelenterata phylum. Each sea anemone is a single organism. They usually live on solid seabed where food is diverse. Sea anemones are widespread, their habitat ranging from shallow waters down to a depth of 5000 meters. In warm waters they can be large and colourful. Many types of sea anemones are found in shallow waters off Iceland. The sea anemone depicted on the stamp was photographed at 600 m depth in the Háfadjúp area. Benthic communities are sometimes viewed with underwater cameras. This applies in particular to research in sensitive habitats.

The basket star (Gorgonocephalus sp.) is a benthic animal of the Echinoderm phylum, and belongs to the brittle star family. Among echinoderms are starfish and sea urchin. The scientific name is derived from the Greek words “Gorgon” which means terrifying, and “cephalus” meaning head. The Norwegian term is Medusa’s head, referring to the mythic monster queen Medusa who had snakes for hair and could turn men to stone by looking at them. Its habitat is the Northeast Atlantic and includes Iceland, Orkney, the United Kingdom and Norway. The basket star depicted in the stamp was photographed at about 900 m depth in the Dreki area, northeast of Iceland.

Stamp images and description thanks to Iceland Post