The West Iceland Nature Research Centre (Náttúrustofa Vesturlands) is one of eight independent regional institutes of
nature research in Iceland (black dots on map). It is based in Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. The research centre
operates according to Icelandic legislation no. 60/1992 and was officially opened in 2001.
The area of operation of the W-Iceland Nature Research Centre covers west Iceland from Hvalfjörður in the south to Gilsfjörður
in the north (light grey area on map). The main focus of nature research lies within this area, although the institute is also
involved in projects covering a larger part of Iceland or the whole country.
According to Icelandic law, the major roles of the W-Iceland Nature Research Centre are to:
Do scientific research on Icelandic nature, with focus on W-Iceland
Collect and preserve data and references regarding the natural history of W-Iceland
Promote acceptable and sustainable land use and nature conservation
Provide public education on nature and environmental issues
Offer official bodies advice regarding nature, the environment, sustainability, and nature conservation
The W-Iceland Nature Research Centre is involved in various research projects but has specialized in the ecology of non-native
invasive species in particular, with the main focus on American mink (Neovison vison). The institute is also responsible for, or
participates in, a variety of research and monitoring project on birds (such as the white-tailed sea eagle, seabirds, waders and
more), in addition to projects involving the arctic fox, seals and killer whales.
The institute is actively involved in a number of projects that promote sustainability and conservation, such as the EarthCheck
sustainability certification of the municipalities on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and the conservation of Breiðafjörður Bay.