Falkland Islands Shallow Benthic and
Intertidal Diversity

Funding bodies: SAERI, RBC Ltd, Falkland Islands Government

Project Affiliations: SAERI, Shallow Marine Surveys Group, University of Aberdeen

Emma Beaton

Supervisors: Prof Frithjof Kuepper (University of Aberdeen), Dr Paul Brickle (SAERI), Prof Pieter van West (University of Aberdeen)

Dates: Jan 2016 – Dec 2018

Project overview

This project aims to determine the factors influencing benthic faunal and floral communities in shallow subtidal and rocky intertidal habitats of the
Falkland Islands. The influence of different spatial and temporal scales will provide a better understanding of
biogeographical patterns within the wider region of southern South America. DNA barcoding techniques are employed to expand the algal flora of the Falklands and examine patterns in distribution of algae across the South Atlantic.

Project Objectives
• To describe the invertebrate faunal and floral communities of the shallow subtidal regions of the Falkland Islands and understand the factors influencing the community structure under small spatial and temporal scales
• To assess how spatial scales influence intertidal invertebrate communities on rocky shores of the Falkland Islands
• To examine the influence of temporal scales on rocky intertidal invertebrate community structure through seasonal shore surveys at two sites in the Islands
• To understand the biogeographical patterns of algal distribution and examine the influence of glaciation on algal diversity in southern South America


Intertidal fieldwork was completed in April 2018, with data analysis of quadrat photos completed by spring 2019.

DNA barcoding was employed to assess the algal flora of the southern South Atlantic, with molecular analyses completed in December 2018 and biogeographical analyses beginning in June 2019.

Emma submitted her PhD thesis in December 2019 and passed her defence with minor corrections in February 2020.

In April 2020, Emma’s first paper was published in Polar Biology on the benthic subtidal reef communities of Kidney Island in East Falkland

Paper Citation
Beaton EC, Küpper FC, van West P, Brewin PE, Brickle P (2020) The influence of depth and season on the benthic communities of a Macrocystis pyrifera forest in the Falkland Islands. Polar Biology 43: 573–586 doi 10.1007/s00300-020-02662-x

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