The collection consists of 122 photographs of people and marine life made by Bayer while on the SIM survey of Ifalik Atoll in 1953, as well as 68 aerial photographs of the Atoll. The aerial photographs are stamped on verso as official Navy photographs. Bayer's marine life photographs include underwater images of coral, fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Photographs of Ifalik Atoll inhabitants include images of the Atoll's chiefs, as well as a gathering to welcome for visitors from Woleai, and women performing a dance for the Woleai visitors. Several images show the Fan Nap, or public assembly house, and outrigger canoes. SIM team members, including ocean geologist Joshua I. Tracey, and their local assistants, are shown surveying the area and collecting specimens. Included is Bayer's photograph log, which lists the date the photograph was made, its subject, sometimes the time of day, and the camera settings used.
The collection is organized into 2 series: 1) The people and marine life on Ifalik Atoll, 2) Aerial photographs of Ifalik Atoll.
Bayer's photographs are numbered according to Bayer's numbering schema, which is [film roll number.item number]. The aerial photographs are numbered according to the Naval photographer's numbering schema.
Frederick M. Bayer (1921-2007) was a research zoologist who specialized in the study of Octocorillia (soft corals). He worked at the Smithsonian Institution from 1947-1961 and 1975-1996, and taught at the School of Marine Science at the University of Miami in the interim years. The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History hired Bayer as a curator in 1947 and immediately sent him to survey marine fauna at the Bikini Atoll. In 1950 the Office of Naval Research sponsored the Scientific Investigations of Micronesia (SIM), a program administered through the Pacific Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Bayer was a member of the SIM team that surveyed the Ifalik Atoll in 1953. 
 Bayer, Frederick M. Atoll Research Bulletin no. 494, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: 2001.
Ifalik Atoll is comprised of several small islets: Falarik, Falalap, Ella, and Elangalap. The atoll forms part of the Caroline Islands archipelago in Yap County of Micronesia.
Related Materials Note:
The Joshua Irving Tracey Jr. papers, accession no. 02-021, in the Smithsonian Institution Archives contains materials relating to the Scientific Investigations of Micronesia, including field notes and photographs from the 1953 survey of Ifalik Atoll.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives also holds records pertaining to Bayer's work as a curator in the National Museum of Natural History.
Separated Materials Note:
The 8 artifacts purchased by Bayer while on Ifalik Atoll form accession no. 2028523 in the Department of Anthropology's ethnology collections at the National Museum of Natural History. The accession includes a conch shell used for signaling, grass skirts, fishhooks, and baskets.
Frederick M. Bayer donated the photographs, along with a collection of artifacts from Ifalik Atoll to the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, in 2003. The photographs were transferred to the archives in 2008.