The Centre for Remote Environments (CRE), previously known as Project Atlantis, was established by the late Brigadier David Nicholls and Prof Elaine Shemilt as a research and consultancy group concerned with environmental protection and education, and to provide environmental educational resources through digital media.

During his final appointment as Commander British Forces Falkland Islands, Brigadier Nicholls developed a deep affinity for the area and its heritage, in particular that of South Georgia. In retirement from the Royal Marines, this became the focus of his energies and Project Atlantis was established. CRE is based at the University of Dundee.

Aims and objectives

CRE is committed towards developing a portfolio of research and consultancy projects and works to secure research grants and contracts from research councils, government departments and industry.
CRE works closely with The South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT), and the main research themes addressed are: marine and fisheries; environment, ecology and conservation; industrial and cultural heritage, with particular reference to the whaling industries; as well as related technologies within polar and sub polar regions.


Their first undertaking, as Project Atlantis, was the establishment of a website promoting awareness of the island of South Georgia’s beauty, wildlife and heritage; this was partly funded by the Government of South Georgia. This became an invaluable educational resource for those studying environmental sciences or for others with an interest in the island, whether scientists, historians, academics or visitors. The site covered the island’s history, wildlife, science, exploration, fishing and tourist industries, and management.

Recent projects at CRE include producing a series of South Georgia Environmental Briefing DVDs, the development and production of the official Government of South Georgia website and the development of an exhibition centre in South Georgia.
Current activities for the Government of South Georgia include: the restructuring of how documents are stored and displayed on the website, an online shop, and an iPhone/iPad application to combine The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Wiki with photographs and panoramas.

Future plans include the development of an online searchable database which will enable over 2000 images taken during The Discovery Investigations to be made publicly available. The Discovery Investigations (1925 – 51) were a series of scientific cruises and shore-based investigations into the biology of whales in the Southern Ocean. The work of the investigations contributed hugely to current knowledge of the whales, the krill they fed on, and the oceanography of their habitat.

The Discovery Investigations project will include an iPhone/iPad application which will be a cut-down version of the public database, with further plans to expand the scope of the project to include the Discovery Reports plus additional research into the history of the Discovery Investigations; this will also feature a Norwegian language translation.

Project team

Main project collaborators

Prof Elaine Shemilt, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Director)
Prof Tony Martin, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Director of Habitat Restoration)
Paul Shafi, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Technical Director)

DJCAD team

Prof Elaine Shemilt (Director)
Prof Tony Martin (Director of Habitat Restoration)
Paul Shafi (Technical Director)
Nici Rymer (Administrative Assistant)

Project value
Government of South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, Frederik Dag Arfst Paulsen £300,230
Visit project website