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The Marine Institute locations in Oranmore, Co. Galway, and Newport, Co. Mayo welcome 22 university students this month to take part in the 2023 Summer Bursary programme. The bursary facilitates research, collaboration, and mutual education for a period of eight to twelve weeks, with bursars learning about and experiencing the day-to-day activities of marine researchers and scientists.

This year’s bursars will work in areas including fish husbandry, fish trap census research, ecological monitoring, data collation and organisation, marine research, INFORMAR data visualisation, DNA extraction and analysis, historical fisheries data reconstruction, climate research and outreach, finance, communications, linking art and science, and looking at the history of EuroGoos. The programme consists of both professional work placement and research projects, which conclude with a demonstration of the education and skills gained by the bursars. This is presented through the production of posters displaying research findings, and a short presentation. The programme offers opportunities across a variety of fields, with many ex-bursars later finding occupations and conducting research as graduate employees of the Marine Institute.

The bursary programme, which has been running since the 1960s, provides students with the rare opportunity to take part in, and contribute professionally to the world of marine science and associated fields before concluding third-level education.

“The Summer Bursary programme in the Marine Institute is part of a long-standing tradition of reciprocal education, where both the students and the institute can gain valuable experience and exchange ideas,” says Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute and ex-bursar himself.

Helen McCormick, Senior Laboratory Analyst and Bursary Co-ordinator, also comments that “the Marine Institute Bursary presents students with the opportunity to experience the world of marine science, allowing our bursars to conduct research in their particular areas of interest and gain insight into careers in the marine sector. We at the Marine Institute are proud to facilitate such education through the Summer Bursary programme and hope to continue to welcome students into our facilities for many years to come.”

The Marine Institute Summer Bursary Programme is available to undergraduate students from Third-Level Educational Institutions who have completed two or more years of study in a relevant discipline, with applications for the 2024 Summer Bursary opening in the spring of 2024.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has announced that six Explorers marine-themed Continuing Professional Development (CPD) five-day teacher-training courses (July 3-7) have been approved by the Department of Education and Skills and are now available to book with education centres in Galway, Kerry, West Cork, Waterford, Blackrock Dublin, as well as an online course run through Mayo Education Centre (July 3 – August 18).

Cushla Dromgool-Regan, who manages the Explorers programme, said they were extremely pleased that the Department has accepted these courses and are delighted to be working with the education centres again:

“Being able to offer teachers the opportunity to engage in different courses to learn about the ocean and the seashore helps to foster environmental awareness and ocean literacy in schools. We’re also excited to provide these courses as they enable teachers to use marine themes to develop children’s key competencies highlighted in the new Primary Curriculum Framework 2023”. 

“We’re very pleased to be again running our seashore safari teachers training courses supported by Galway Education Centre; Tramore Education Centre, Kerry; West Cork Education Centre and Waterford Teachers Centre: Exploring the Seashore using creative cross curricular learning and skills development.

“These courses focus on learning about tides, exploration of the seashore, discovering the abundance of marine biodiversity on the shore, as well as exploring new ideas and activities for outdoor learning. Classes will also focus on how to bring the seashore into the classroom, completing STEM, arts and communication activities.

The seashore safari courses can be booked with the relevant education centres in each county and will be run by the Explorers outreach teams in the following locations:

  • Galway - Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore and the local seashore in Galway city
  • Tralee, Kerry - Spa National School & the local seashore
  • Clonakilty, West Cork – Scoil na mBuachaillí, Clonakilty, West Cork & the local seashore
  • Tramore, Waterford - Holy Cross, Tramore and the local seashore.

“This year we’re delighted to be introducing a new course: ‘SDGs and a healthy ocean: marine life, plastic pollution, & climate change’. We will examine the SDGs (UN Sustainable Development Goals) and how they are connected to the ocean, as well as exploring how the SDGs and marine themes can be used to develop class and school projects, such as focussing on climate change and its impact on the ocean and us, marine biodiversity, and solutions to combat plastic pollution.

To be held at the Blackrock Education Centre, the Explorers SDG course will include fun, cross-curricular activities including creative writing, walking debates, creating visual arts through different textiles, as well co-operative games,” Ms Dromgool-Regan explained.

Online Teachers Training Course

Now in its second year, Mayo Education Centre will offer the online course: Explore the Seashore. This course is delivered by pre-recording, and online support is also provided throughout the course. Teachers will get to watch a series of Explorers Wild about Wildlife on the Seashore films, where they can explore the seashore and complete a series of cross-curricular activities, learning about some of our favourite species.

Other marine themes are also introduced where tasks can be completed at home and discussions are generated through online engagement. The online course also provides independent learning where teachers can reflect on how the ocean influences our lives and how we impact the ocean.

All courses are approved for EPV certification by the Department of Education and Skills. For more information and links to the education centres booking sites see - Explorers Teachers Training courses

Published in Marine Science
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Ocean circulation, tipping points and the climate breakdown debate are themes of a public lecture by an international expert hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this Wednesday.

The lecture in Dublin’s Mansion House is due to be delivered by Prof Stefan Rahmstorf of the University of Potsdam.

Prof Rahmstorf is internationally renowned for his work linking climate change to a significant slowdown in the Gulf Stream system.

He recently co-authored an important paper highlighting evidence of how fossil fuel companies had denied and questioned climate science in public, while privately acknowledging the seriousness of the issue.

The EPA says he will discuss how continued melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the coming decades could contribute to further weakening of the Gulf Stream.

This will have important consequences for the ocean ecosystem, the weather in the North Atlantic region, regional sea levels and the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

He will explore how close we already are to the Gulf Stream tipping point; and he will comment on his recent examination of fossil fuel companies’ awareness of the seriousness of climate change over 40 years ago, and the difference between their public statements and internal knowledge.

The lecture, hosted by the EPA with Dublin City Council, will also be streamed online and forms part of the National Dialogue on Climate Action.

“Understanding the evolution of climate change and the ocean is essential if we are to understand our future,”EPA director-general Laura Burke said.

“ This knowledge can help inform policy to manage our responses and adapt to the future climate conditions.”

The free event in the Mansion House Round Room at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 19th, requires registration through the following link.

The event will also be recorded and uploaded to the EPA YouTube channel.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, which engages with primary schools, teachers, children and the education sector, recorded the largest number of participating children in 2022, reaching more than 15,000 throughout Ireland.

Congratulating the team, Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said: “This outcome is reflective of the quality of the Explorers outreach programme, which promotes marine education and how well the programme is delivered by Explorers outreach teams in schools around the coast.”

“Marine projects, seashore safaris, STEM workshops, aquariums in-the-class and the healthy ocean school projects, are excellent examples of how teachers can use marine content to develop children’s key competencies to enable them to become active citizens.

The most recent Explorers Engagement & Impact Report also shows that the programme increased ocean literacy among pre-service teachers, children and school teachers where 463 modules were delivered, focused on aquariums-in-the-classroom, seashore safaris, marine project and STEM workshops, as well new healthy ocean school projects”.

The Explorers education programme has seen an increase in ocean literacy in Schools according to the latest reportThe Explorers education programme has seen an increase in ocean literacy in Schools according to the latest report

Delighted with the progress during 2022, Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Manager of the Explorers Education Programme, said: “Outreach officers adopt an integrated approach to delivering the wide range of activities available, supported by the Explorers education resources. This enables teachers to complete cross-curricular marine-themed projects in the classroom and helps children to take a greater lead in their learning and to becoming ocean literate.

“Applying an integrated approach also reflects the principles set out in the new Primary Curriculum Framework launched earlier this month by Norma Foley, T.D., Minister for Education, Norma Foley,” explained Ms Dromgool-Regan.

The Framework introduces key competencies for children’s learning, and sets out the main features and components for a full redevelopment of the primary school curriculum. The new Healthy Ocean School Project module is an excellent example of how learning can be expanded through STEM, languages and the arts.

With the objective of creating marine leaders and ocean champions, the ‘Healthy Ocean Projects & Ocean Champion Awards’ - attracted twenty-six schools in fourteen counties who submitted 28 projects covering science, artwork and beach cleans.

More information about the Explorers Education Programme here

Published in Marine Science

Budding young journalists interested in climate issues affecting the marine environment are urged to participate in a contest run by An Taisce.

Solutions to climate issues on sea and land is the theme of the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition 2023.

Entrants can submit an article, captioned photo or a short video clip on the theme.

The theme of climate action takes into account “everything from how we get around to what we consume and how we can tackle issues like biodiversity loss”, An Taisce says.

Participants must be between 12 and 25 years old and attending second-level “Green schools” and third-level “Green campuses”

There are four steps to entering:

i) Students, either individually or in groups research an area where climate action is needed.

ii) They identify a solution to the problem.

iii) This is communicated in a journalistic piece – either an article, captioned photo or a short video clip.

iv) The work is then shared on social media and within the community.

Shortlisted students will be invited to take part in an online national awards ceremony in June where the winners will be announced, sharing in a prize fund of over €1,500.

“This is a great opportunity for any budding environmental journalist to gain a platform and recognition,” YRE manager Eoin Heaney says.

He says the overall winner will represent Ireland in the international YRE competition in June.

Past winners have featured on RTÉ News and in The Irish Times, he says.

Entries and any queries should be emailed to [email protected] any time before the deadline of Friday May 5th.

The shortlisted entries from last year can be viewed here:

Full details on how to enter, tips for writing articles, taking photos and making videos as well as terms and conditions are all available at

Published in Marine Science
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Citizen marine scientists and nature enthusiasts can apply for a grant of up to 5,000 euros to capture and record Ireland’s natural history.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service manages applications for the scheme, which are being sought by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Malcolm Noonan.

The scheme “aims to help established naturalists recording in Ireland to maintain and enhance their expertise in species identification and to develop the next generation of natural history recorders”, his department says.

“Ireland has a long tradition of natural history recording, and natural history recorders are recognised as vital in maintaining the quality of information on Ireland’s native species and natural and semi-natural habitats,”it says.

However, the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage says it recognises that the recording community - individuals and groups - needs support to carry out their important work.

Grants are available for volunteer, unpaid recorders, or groups, societies and associations of recorders who have limited or no access to financial support for their work. This is the fifth year of the grant scheme, and it has supported over 70 projects to date.

Skate and ray surveys in Tralee Bay were one of the projects grant-aided last year.

Applications should be submitted by 5 pm on 31st March 2023. The form and further details can be found here

Application forms will ONLY be accepted by email submission to [email protected].

Published in Marine Science
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A student team has won the Irish leg of an international contest for a design that draws on hydropower and wind power to generate electricity stored in a battery.

The “affordable clean energy generator system” uses both hydropower and wind to provide enough electricity for 250 light bulbs in one hour.

The prototype, named “Own It” was submitted to the “Invent for the Planet” contest, a 48-hour intensive design experience involving 29 universities in 22 locations around the world.

Competitors are given a single weekend to solve high-impact, global problems in the contest, organised by Texas A&M University.

The winning Irish team, named “Power Up”, involved Xing Ying Chuang, third-year biomedical student at ATU Galway; Tom Hakizinka Senga, a second-year mechanical engineering student at Dundalk IT; Tenis Ranjan, postgraduate student at the University of Galway; Edbin Ostilio Buezo Zuniga, a first-year engineering student at ATU Sligo; and Ontiretse Ishmael, PhD computing, ATU. 

Runners up “Eat Smart”, L to R, Caoimhe McCormack, first year Environmental Science student at ATU Sligo; Zain Ali, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; Vijay Kumar, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; Jessica Henry, third year Software engineering year at ATU Sligo. Photo: Mike ShaughnessyRunners up “Eat Smart”, L to R, Caoimhe McCormack, first year Environmental Science student at ATU Sligo; Zain Ali, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; Vijay Kumar, IT Master student at ATU Donegal; Jessica Henry, third year Software engineering year at ATU Sligo. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Another Irish team designed a solution to remove existing carbon from the environment. The “Blue Carbon” team used the space beneath wind turbines for aquaculture, such as mollusc and seaweed farming, to remove carbon and stimulate fish stocks through the creation of artificial reefs.

Eight different teams worked intensively on a selection of challenges and, with guidance from mentors, had to present a prototype, involving a 10-minute pitching presentation and 90-second video, to a panel of judges.

The Irish leg of the “Invent for the Planet 2023” was kindly sponsored by Thermo King; Boston Scientific; Marine Institute, BIM; the Department of Agricultural, Food and Marine; and MathWorks.

Published in Marine Science
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Marine scientists at the University of Corsica say they have mastered the reproduction of the giant limpet as part of a ten-year research programme on vulnerable species.

This could “pave the way for a large-scale ecological restoration” in the Mediterranean Sea, they suggest.

The giant limpet, Patella Ferruginea, is one of the Mediterranean’s most endangered marine species.

Engineers and scientists of at the University of Corsica’s Stella Mare research centre began working on hatchery-reared juveniles late last year.

“The first larval rearing experiments initiated in 2022 were successful,” they state.

“Indeed, the hatchery team managed to overcome the artificial reproduction of this species and obtained 72 juveniles. Those are currently on-grown inside the Corsican labs,” they say.

“To date, only two research teams in the world (led by the same scientist) have managed to obtain a few juveniles with very limited survival,” they say.

The main challenge involved collecting healthy and mature limpets able to spawn as the species has almost completely disappeared on the Mediterranean coast. Inducing spawning in captivity and feeding at the juvenile stage also proved complex, they say.

Giant limpets were once abundant on the Mediterranean centuries ago, but now only survive in a small number of areas on the Andalusian and north African coasts, as well as some “hotspots” in Corsica and Sardinia. The population has increased in Corsica, which suggests the island has a supply of “healthy spawners”, the scientists say.

The University of Corsica has issued a fundraising campaign for scientific research, and says an experimental restoration of giant limpet populations in the port of Bastia in northern Corsica will begin next year.

Published in Marine Science
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An Irish short film featuring communities who make a living from the sea is set to reach global audiences tonight (Tuesday, February 7th). Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry has been selected for inclusion at the Festival of Ocean Films 2023 in Vancouver, Canada.

The festival returns after a two-year pause and celebrates people’s connection to the ocean. It aims to inspire conversation and conservation by featuring beautiful films from Canada and across the world.

The Festival of Ocean Films 2023 got underway at the Vancity Theatre, Vancouver last night and continues tonight.

Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is a 12-minute film exploring how changes to how local coasts and waters are protected would affect the people and communities nearby. It includes extensive footage of the southwest coast which was named Ireland’s first ‘Hope Spot’ by Mission Blue. The ‘Greater Skellig Coast’ now joins the Galápagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and parts of Antarctica as special places scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

Film producer Jack O’DonovanFilm producer Jack O’Donovan

The film was produced by Jack O’Donovan of Trá of Fair Seas - a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks working to build a movement of ocean stewardship across Ireland. The documentary was directed by Tasha Phillips of Swimming Head Productions with cinematography by Lawrence Eagling of Swimming Head Productions. The film was partly funded by the Irish Marine Institute.

The film hears diverse voices from across coastal communities, including a fisherman, an angler, an ecotourism operator, a biologist and a diver, who share their inextricable connection to the sea. It officially premiered in Kerry in October 2022.

Jack O'Donovan Trá, Communications Officer at Fair Seas: “It is such a privilege to travel around Ireland's coast meeting with communities that rely almost entirely on healthy seas. The aim of Fair Seas is to build a movement of ocean stewardship across Ireland and to ensure the Irish government meet their targets of protecting 30% of Irish waters with a network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas by 2030. What better way to tie these two aims together than to explore the lives of those communities whose everyday rituals ebb and flow with the tides and who will become the stewards of protected areas on their shores? Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is a film that shows passion, ambition, tradition and new hope among the people of Ireland to build a better, more sustainable future for generations to come. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to coordinate such a powerful statement of ocean optimism and am now delighted to see it appearing on the international stage.”

Fair Seas: The Kingdom of Kerry is one of several short films highlighting the ongoing and critically important conversation around sustainable fishing that will be shown this evening (February 7th). The screening will be followed by an expert panel discussion featuring Fair Seas Policy Officer Dr Donal Griffin.

Dr Griffin said, "This global recognition of Ireland and the importance of conserving our ocean is even more critical now as we finalise our own national Marine Protected Area legislation. At Fair Seas, we have been campaigning for the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as Marine Protected Areas by 2030 and it is fantastic to see progress beginning to be made. However, we have one chance to do this right and we owe it to the next generation to do this well."

The screening of Fair Seas - The Kingdom of Kerry begins at 6pm on February 7th at the VIFF Centre in downtown Vancouver. Global audiences can also tune in online. The panel will begin around 7pm, after the series of short films.

Published in Maritime TV

What do the Loch Ness monster, the El Nino effect and dead water at sea have in common?

All may be associated with internal waves, a phenomenon of wave motion in which Dr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork (UCC) has expertise.

As Dr Henry explains in an interview with Wavelengths for Afloat, internal water waves, which are responsible for the “dead water” phenomenon observed by sailors at sea, play a fundamental role in any meaningful description of large-scale dynamics of the ocean.

He says that an improved understanding of their behaviour is “essential to developing our understanding of ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere dynamics, which are in turn fundamental processes underlying climate dynamics”.

Dr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College CorkDr David Henry of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Cork

Internal waves have some particularly interesting, and quite unforeseen, impacts in both the real and “fictional” worlds, he says.

For instance, dolphins have been observed swimming ahead of a moving ship by “surfing” the internal waves that it generates, and it has also been suggested that internal wave-related activity might be one explanation for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland.

Henry recalls how internal waves may have influenced Australian submarine exposure to Turkish forces during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 during the first world war.

Internal waves have been observed up to 50 metres high in the Celtic Sea, and in the Rockall Trough, the Malin Sea and Shelf, lying immediately north of Ireland, and to the east of the Rockall Trough, he says.

Internal waves have ”a major impact in biological considerations since they carry nutrients onto the continental shelf - 50% of shelf sea nutrients are estimated to arrive across the shelf-break boundary”, he adds.

They are also of interest to geological oceanographers because these waves produce sediment transport on ocean shelves, while breaking internal waves on sloping surfaces creates erosion.

The steady crash of waves pounding the shore draws vacationers to beaches across the world when temperatures climb. Driven by the wind and tides, these familiar waves ride across the top of the ocean. But deeper waves also move through ocean waters, visible only from their influence on ocean currents. These waves are internal waves, and they run through lowest layers of ocean water, never swelling the surface. Credit: Google Earth - March 6, 2007KMLThe steady crash of waves pounding the shore draws vacationers to beaches across the world when temperatures climb. Driven by the wind and tides, these familiar waves ride across the top of the ocean. But deeper waves also move through ocean waters, visible only from their influence on ocean currents. These waves are internal waves, and they run through lowest layers of ocean water, never swelling the surface. Credit: Google Earth - March 6, 2007KML

And they are of relevance to coastal engineers because of the tidal and residual currents that they generate, which can cause scour on near shore as well as offshore structures.

“In spite of their clear importance, several important theoretical gaps remain in our understanding of the ocean dynamics induced by internal water waves, and wave-current interactions,” Dr Henry says.

To advance this knowledge, Science Foundation Ireland has awarded €916,000 for a research project led by Dr Henry, in collaboration with Professor Rossen Ivanov, School of Mathematics and Statistics, TU Dublin.

Dr Henry spoke about this to Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast
Page 3 of 35

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