Garðvegur 1, 245 Sandgerði, 245


Sudurnes Science and Learning Center is a non-profit organization, partly financed and accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture in Iceland.


The Center is located by the Sandgerdi harbor (64°02’ N, 22°42’ W) on the western coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 50 km west of the capital, Reykjavik. It is in close proximity to coastal areas of high natural value, listed in the Icelandic Nature Conservation Registry, and Important Bird Areas identified by BirdLife International.


Reykjanes Peninsula is situated in the maritime subarctic climate zone, on the rift between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates, where the mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above the ocean’s surface. Geologically, the peninsula is young and characterized by volcanism and vast lava fields covered with moss heath vegetation, dominated by montane moss (Racomitrium lanuginosum). The coastal areas are wildlife-rich with rocky shores, sandy beaches, muddy flats, and sea cliffs as well as some dry grasslands and small freshwater lakes by the coast. A total of 196 bird species have been recorded in the area, including 61 nesting species and many migrant birds from Eurasia, Africa, and America.


In 1992, an abandoned fish factory was turned into a research laboratory for the international, collaborative project Benthic Invertebrates of Icelandic Waters (BIOICE). Sudurnes Science and Learning Center was established in 2012. The Southwest Iceland Nature Research Center (established 2000) and The University of Iceland’s Research Center in Sudurnes (established 2004) are part of the Center. The Center has an excellent taxonomic laboratory, fish rearing and experimental facilities. It has three laboratories, three wet labs with clean borehole seawater, three meeting rooms, six bedrooms with 12 beds as well as kitchen, showers, and a laundry room. The facilities are ideal for conducting scientific studies in taxonomy, marine biology, ornithology, and general ecology. The Center offers the possibility to catch birds close by for in-house tests and measurements. Workshops are available in the village.


Sudurnes Science and Learning Center focuses on bird studies, marine invertebrates, and seashore ecology. The Center cooperates with the University of Iceland in finding the wintering grounds of Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) and with The University of Iceland’s Research Centre in South Iceland in studying the migratory decisions in Icelandic Oystercatchers. The Center also participates in service programs using the facilities at the Center for example on aquaculture animals such as the European lobster, arctic char, and cod. The main focus of The University of Iceland’s Research Centre in Sudurnes is on research and teaching in marine biology and ecotoxicology, emphasizing on postgraduate students. The Southwest Iceland Nature Research Centre collects and stores information and data regarding the nature in the southwest region of Iceland. The main focus has been on ecological research, mainly on bird ecology and benthic invertebrates. The Nature Research Centre takes part in monitoring breeding success in seabirds in Iceland. Climatic data are available for the area at The Icelandic Meteorological Office since 1953.


Sudurnes Science and Learning Center is located in Sandgerdi, a small fishing village with 1600 inhabitants. Fishing, service industries, and tourism are the primary occupations in the area.


Sudurnes Science and Learning Center is easily accessible by car or bus throughout the year. It is located only 7 km from the international airport in Keflavik.

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