The Falkland Islands occupy a unique position in the Southwest Atlantic. Situated approximately 500km off the tip of South America and 1000km north of the Antarctic Peninsula, the shallow waters surrounding the islands are an almost pristine and unexploited marine environment. However, for a nation comprising over 700 islands and a correspondingly large coastline, little is known about the inshore environment around the Falkland Islands. Most of the available scientific literature deals with offshore commercial fisheries taking place in deeper waters.
The Shallow Marine Surveys Group exists to coordinate and conduct assessments of the status of inshore resources around the Falkland Islands. SMSG is headed by a core group of experienced biologists and divers and assisted by volunteers from the local community who carry out scientific collections and identifications, photographic surveys, and marine ecological research that contributes to local and regional conservation policy initiatives. The scope of the work includes the splash zone, inter-tidal and subtidal environments on sandy, pebble and rock beaches of Falkland Islands' shores, and recently South Georgia, Ascension Island, St Helena Islands, and Tristan da Cunha.
The group welcomes contact from international conservation and educational organisations who may like to collaborate with us on future inshore marine research in the region or seek advice on the logistics of scientific research in the Falkland Islands and South Atlantic UK Overseas Territories. We also invite contact from postgraduate students who may be considering proposals for research in inshore cold temperate waters.
Be sure to check our web blog for reports and images from SMSG expeditions throughout the South Atlantic region.