The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic


The Falkland Islands sit on an extension of the Patagonian continental shelf, bounded to the north by the Falklands Escarpment, a steep slope which separates it from the Argentine Basin. The sloping area between the Falklands and the Falklands Escarpment, a gradient between depths of 150 and 1500m, is the Falklands Basin. To the north the shelf extends 200km beyond the Falklands and to the southwest it runs for 50km from the islands. Southwards, a deep trough running east-west, the Falklands Trough, divides the Falklands Plateau from the Burdwood Bank. Water depths around the coast of the Falklands are typically 20-40m.

The continental shelf is rich in demersal and pelagic fish and marine life, brought about and fed by the strong Falklands Current which splits its flow around the islands at the Burdwood Bank to meet again north of the islands.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (West Wind Drift) flows clockwise west-east around Antarctica. This keeps warm ocean waters away from Antarctica to maintain the ice sheet. Associated with this current is the Antarctic Convergence, where warm sub Antarctic waters meet the cold Antarctic waters creating a zone of upwelling nutrients which nurtures masses of phytoplankton and associated copepods and krill, the food chain which supports fish, penguins, albatross, seals, whales and other sea life. Over half the breeding birds in the Falklands, (over 60 species) rely on the sea for food.


Dolphins Porpoises


Pelagic birds

Marine fish

Marine invertebrates

Marine Algae


Sources include:,Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. Wikipedia, Falklands Conservation, A Field Guide to the Wildlife of The Falkland Islands and South Georgia - Ian J Strange
Photographic credits: Robert Maddocks Commersons Nodir-Tursunzade/, Seals link David Osbourn/, Robert Maddocks
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