Seal Research Department

The objective of seal research at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute is to conduct comprehensive research on seals in Iceland. The research area is the Vatnsnes Peninsula and inner Húnaflói Bay area in the northwestern part of Iceland, where a large number of harbour seals can be found in a relatively small area.

The harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) and the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) are the only species to pup around Iceland and they are the main subjects of our research here. Four other species visit the island from time to time and are occasionally included in aspects of our research. Those species are harp seal (Phoca groenlandica), bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus), hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) and ringed seal (Phoca hispida). Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) have also occasionally been found around Iceland but they are very rare.


  • Sandra M. Granquist – ethologist – (department head) joint staff member of the Icelandic Seal Center and the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute
  • Eric dos Santos – biologist – (researcher) Marine and Freshwater Research Institute

List of Projects

The following links provide more specific information about our main on-going research projects. This is not a full list, as various short-term and small-scale projects are also conducted.