The birth of the island was in itself an interesting geological phenomenon but the island also became a biological laboratory, where scientists could investigate how organisms disperse across the ocean to remote islands and how plants and animals colonize completely barren areas like Surtsey whith its extremely hostile habitat, sub-arctic environment and its substrate of lava, ash and pumice. On Surtsey it was possible to demonstrate how seed and various living organisms are carried by air or ocean currents over great distances and how they manage to disperse on their own or are transported by other means. The thorough investigations carried out on Surtsey showed how the pioneers invaded the island and were gradually joined by others in forming primitive societies and simple ecosystems. These societies are then compared whith the more advanced communities on neighboring islands in order to predict the future development of life on Surtsey until it reaches its ecological climax. English language version.