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Displaying items by tag: marine science

#MarineScience - On Wednesday 17 February the Marine Institute hosted a delegation of officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

The delegation, headed by Micheni Ntiba, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, was greeted by Dr Paul Connolly, director of fisheries ecosystems advisory services, who gave an overview of the work carried out at the Marine Institute and highlighted the extensive range of research vessel surveys that support fisheries management.

Tommy Furey of INFOMAR demonstrated how we can map the seabed using the latest technology and also demonstrated the importance of topography, contouring, geology and seabed mapping with Ireland’s first augmented reality (AR) sandbox.

The AR sandbox is based on a concept first developed as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project lead by visualisation collaboration KeckCAVES at the University of California.

The Delegation toured the building to get a first-hand glimpse of the work undertaken, visiting the biotoxin lab to learn about the work involved in the biotoxin monitoring programme, and the underwater TV survey lab, viewing footage of the burrows of Dublin Bay prawn (Nephrops norvegicus), getting an insight into some of the services provided to the Irish Government.

The delegation remarked that they could see may ideas that could be used in Kenya and that they could learn a lot from the Irish experience with Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

Kenya is very interested in developing an integrated marine plan for their ocean resources and the delegates were very interested to hear about Ireland’s Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth strategy and how it has progressed.

There is a new acceptance in Kenya on the importance of the ocean and its potential to contribute to the Kenyan economy.

Published in Marine Science

#CoastalNotes - An American college's unmanned research vessel has been found on the shores of a Connemara island some eight months after students put it to sea 6,000 miles across the Atlantic in North Carolina.

As Port City Daily reports, the Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) vessel, appearing like a miniature sailboat, was discovered recently with its mast broken off on the coast of Illaunurra by kayaking father-and-son duo Keith and Graham Roberts.

Inside the boat, they found instructions on who to contact if it were recovered – which is how CFCC marine science teacher Jacqui Degan and her class learned the fate of their project.

Marlin Spikin’ Miller, as the boat was named, is one of two fibreglass boats kitted out with transmitters that the students set adrift south of Wilmington, North Carolina.

And that it survived its long-distance journey over many months relatively intact is a testament to the college's boatbuilding students, who collaborated with the science department on the project

Port City Daily has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineScience - The 11th International Sea Lice Conference will be hosted by the Marine Institute in Westport, Co Mayo from 26-28 September 2016, it has been announced.

This biennial gathering of the world's most prominent sea lice research will hear the latest papers, presentations and posters of the most up-to-date research in the field – such as last year's paper that identified salmon farming's impact on wild salmon and sea trout stocks.

The goal of the conference is to bring together leading international researchers, groups and regulatory agencies to foster collaboration and communication on sea lice research and to advance our understanding of the key biological, environmental and management factors associated with sea lice in both wild and farmed settings.

Presenters will be invited to submit papers which may be published in the Journal of Fish Diseases as a special edition.

Registration is now open for prospective presenters, who should also submit abstracts of their research. A limited number of scholarships for students are also available.

For more information visit the conference website HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - EurOcean has extended the deadline to register for the Professor Mário Ruivo Prize to 31 March 2016.

School children aged 11-16 throughout Europe are invited to present a proposal for a study, experiment or project that supports the Blue Society theme 'Your Ocean, Your Future'.

The theme of the Professor Mário Ruivo Prize 2016 focuses on practical actions that can improve how humans interact with the ocean and is intended to raise public awareness on the importance of the ocean and ocean-related services to humankind.

Entrants can be groups who are mentored either through a school setting or through another social outlet, club, workshop, etc.

The top ten ideas from each country will be selected to go before the jury, and from these, three teams will be funded to carry out their marine science project. The best of the three teams will be awarded a money prize.

Through a series of stages, entrants will be invited to envision their project, make a plan of action, and sell their idea to the adjudicating panel.

Finally, three teams will be selected as finalists who will receive funding to do their project.

To participate you must register your team via the online form before the 31 March deadline and convince the jury why your project should be selected as one of the top ten to represent your country.

EurOcean will follow the process online and through social media, and the team that is most successful in realising their plan will be awarded the Professor Mário Ruivo Prize.

You will find more information about the competition along with dissemination materials in different languages on the EurOcean website HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Researchers from third-level Institutes and industry attended an information session at the Marine Institute in Oranmore on Friday 22 January, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, to learn about the funding opportunities for marine biodiscovery research and to get tips and advice on formulating proposals for research projects.

Marine biodiscovery looks to the huge diversity of organisms in the marine environment for bioactive compounds that could form the basis of new materials and or process. As the Marine Institute explains, it’s essentially taking inspiration from nature to provide the building blocks for new products or processes.

By exploring the bioactivity in organisms from the ocean; including from fishery and aquaculture activity, or materials which result from the processing of marine organisms, there is potential to identify new compounds that can meet the needs of society.

Among the many known uses for marine origin bioactive materials, are components in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and ingredients, nutritional supplements, cosmeceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products, horticultural stimulants, animal feed, biomaterials, and as a source of enzymes with potential in bioremediation and bioprocessing.

ERA-MBT member Dr Dermot Hurst gave information and advice on current funding opportunities within the Marine Biotechnology ERA- NET framework. Among the tips for researchers were to refer to relevant national policy documents, such as Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.

He also recommended the European Marine Board position paper on marine biotechnology – Marine Biotechnology: a Vision and Strategy for Europe – as an essential reference, in particular the ‘marine biotech toolkit’.

Researchers are invited to apply for funding for transnational joint research projects under the topic 'Bioactive molecules from the marine environment – Biodiscovery' within the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET framework. The closing date for proposals is 3pm CET on 16 March 2016.

This is the second transnational call under the programme and focuses on the identification of bioactive compounds and other useful properties that offer commercial potential. Proposals can be submitted through the ERA-MBT online submission system.

Applicants are asked to focus their research on biological materials obtained from one or more of the following sources: culture collections, biobanks and repositories that are held within institutions/companies; from fishery or aquaculture activity; marine biomass processing by-products and waste fractions; and biological materials collected from the foreshore (coastal areas between the limits of low and high water.

The Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET (ERA-MBT) is a consortium of national funding agencies working to promote complementary research activity between national organisations by pooling resources to provide joint funding for transnational projects in Marine Biotechnology. The aim is to support the development of the European bioeconomy.

For further information visit the ERA-MBT website or contact the Marine Institute’s funding office at [email protected] or 091 387 200.

Published in Marine Science
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#MarineScience - A public information evening on the Galway Bay 'Ocean Observatory' is scheduled for this coming Tuesday 19 January.

Speakers from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Marine Institute and SmartBay Ireland will be on hand to explain developments at the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.

The event from 7pm to 9.30pm at Tígh Giblin in Spiddal will also have a question and answer session.

Meanwhile, an information day on the second joint call for proposals for Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET will be held from 11am to 3pm on Friday 22 January at the Marine Institute.

See the Marine Institute website for more details HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineWildlife - Toxic chemicals banned in Europe nearly 30 years ago are still polluting the seas off the continent.

And marine scientists fear their continued presence could spell the end for the killer whale and other species in European waters, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The warning comes from newly published research on concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in marine wildlife – specifically orcas and other dolphins – in Irish, British and Mediterranean waters.

Co-authored by Dr Simon Berrow of GMIT and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the paper in the latest issue of journal Scientific Reports claims that despite the outright ban on the use of PCBs since 1987, they persist in "dangerously high levels in European cetaceans".

High exposure to PCBs, once used in the manufacture of paints and electrical equipment, weakens the immune systems of cetaceans and has a severe effect on their breeding rates.

The paper is available online HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineScience - More than 60 marine researchers from third level institutes, Government agencies and SMEs braved the elements to get to the Marine Institute in Oranmore on Thursday 7 January for information and advice on the many EU funding opportunities for marine research.

The workshop – titled Cross Cutting Marine Opportunities in EU Funding, as previously reported on Afloat.ie – was organised by the Marine Institute’s Research Office.

Welcoming participants, John Evans, director of policy, innovation and research at the Marine Institute, highlighted the success of Ireland’s marine researchers to date in winning competitive EU funding.

“Irish researchers have won 3.6% of the available funding for Blue Growth topics under the most recent round of results announced by the European Commission for Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2, and this rises to 4.6% when marine related topics relating to sustainable food security are considered," he said.

"This is becoming a consistent pattern, with Irish marine researchers winning more European competitive funding than would be expected from a country our size.”

Evans also spoke of the need for a focus on national research collaboration to maintain and improve this competitive position, and the importance of relevant national strategies as tools for researchers preparing funding proposals, specifically Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, and the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2015-2020.

The Marine Institute's Dr Fiona Grant, national contact point for marine aspects of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2, gave an overview of the priority topics for Blue Growth with a total of €148.5m available funding with contributions from the Climate, Energy and Transport parts of the Horizon 2020 programme.

'Linking healthy oceans and seas with healthy people’ was one of the key topics covered. Dr Grant mentioned the concept of the ocean as a "blue gym", citing a recent European Marine Board position paper that shows the significant impact of the oceans on human health and wellbeing.

Dr Sean McCarthy of Hyperion Ltd gave very practical advice on how to write a competitive Horizon 2020 proposal, with lots of insights for both new and experienced funding applicants. He told scientists to focus on the potential impact of the research proposal.

“Begin your proposal with impact – the impact is the big issue. Then write the science around the impact,” he said.

Other advice from Dr McCarthy included contacting the national contact point to ensure a better success rate.

“When writing your proposal it’s important to understand how the research priorities have been selected and the national contact point can give you insight into this,” he added.

Gerry Finn, director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly and national contact point for the INTERREG Atlantic Area, gave an overview of the INTERREG Atlantic Area Programme 2014-2020 and success stories from the 2007-2013 ERDF programmes., under which €12.9m in ERDF funding was approved to 56 Irish projects.

Also speaking on the day was Michael O’Brien, EU Programme liaison officer, who gave an overview of eligibility criteria and guidelines on what makes a successful proposal under this financing mechanism. Four priority areas have been identified which include:

  • Stimulating innovation and competitiveness.
  • Fostering resource efficiency.
  • Strengthening the territory’s resilience to risks of natural, climate and human origin.
  • Enhancing biodiversity and the natural and cultural assets.

Over €140m will be available under the call from 2014-2020 which is expected to be launched in the middle of 2016.

O’Brien advised that the technical parameters "are not formally agreed yet by the member states and there may be further changes over the coming weeks. The working group for the programme meets again shortly to advance the progress on the programme manual and application process.”

Published in Marine Science

#Innovation - Two very different aquatic breakthroughs have been listed among Silicon Republic's top 10 Irish innovations of 2015.

Afloat.ie has previously reported on University of Limerick graduate Cathal Redmond, who took home €7,000 as a runner-up in the James Dyson Awards for his revolutionary new diving apparatus.

Redmond will use the funds to develop his Express Dive concept, a lightweight device that allows divers to refill their air supply on the goal – for a fraction of the cost of standard SCUBA gear.

Also covered this past summer on Afloat.ie was the discovery of a new habitat for coral in Irish waters.

Prof Andy Wheeler led an international team of marine scientists on the coral survey in June that ventured into the Porcupine Bank Canyon some 300km off Dingle and found an unexpected variety of life.

He added that it is "not unfeasible that there is over 100 sqkm of coral habitat that was previously unaccounted for."

Silicon Republic has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineWildlife - On Monday 7 December, Ireland today joined with a number of other countries in a demarche to the government of Japan about its whaling activities.

The demarche expresses “serious concern” at Japan's decision to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean under what it calls its “New Scientific Research Whale Programme in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A)”.

The demarche recalls the decision of the International Court of Justice in 2014 which held that Japan’s previous Southern Ocean whaling programme was not “for purposes of scientific research” under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946 and was therefore unlawful.

The countries participating in the demarche note that the last Annual Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission held in June 2015 was unable to confirm that Japan had done enough to justify commencement of lethal sampling in the 2015/16 season.

In expressing concern to Japan, Ireland and the other participating countries urge the government of Japan as a member of the International Whaling Commission to respect the commission’s procedures, stress that there is no scientific basis to include lethal methods in NEWREP-A, and strongly request the government of Japan not to engage in this whaling programme.

Other member states of the EU and New Zealand also participated in the joint demarche.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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