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.

 

Collaboration with other research facilities and specialists is an important part of activities at the W- Iceland Nature Research

Centre, the main collaborators being other Nature Research Centres, The Icelandic Institute of Natural History, The University of

Iceland and scientists at universities and research institutes outside Iceland (e.g. participants in the InDyNet collaboration and

scientific network).