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marineatlas – #Scientists from the Geological Survey of Ireland and UCD have contributed to a new Geological Atlas of the offshore geology of north-west of Europe, which will be launched today at the Geological Survey of Denmark, Copenhagen. The Atlas and associated database was jointly developed by 8 geological surveys and sponsored by more than a dozen exploration companies at a cost of €4 million, and is expected to result in increased exploration activity and research.

The full name of the Atlas project is the Northeast Atlantic Geoscience Tectonostratigraphic Atlas (NAGTEC) and GSI's involvement grew in partnership the NAG consortium, which is a cooperative framework agreement between the Geological Surveys of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Iceland and Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands).

This hugely ambitious project began in June 2011, and in its 3 year lifespan has successfully correlated all released offshore data for the entire north-east Atlantic, for the very first time. Using this resource, skilled experts based at the various NAG surveys developed data products, primarily geological maps that detail the development of the North East Atlantic. These maps are now available for scrutiny amongst the NAGTEC Atlas pages, whilst the offshore data is housed in a structured database. It is worth noting that the project, undertaken by the multiple government agencies, was completed on time and on budget and met all targets.

Welcoming the launch, Minster of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh TD, pointed out that the long term benefits to Ireland, as a result of participation in NAGTEC are predicted to be significant:

· Datasets can be used by exploration companies to aid exploration.

· The majority of sponsoring companies are not active in Ireland but will now be more aware of Irish opportunities.

· The data will continue to stimulate research on offshore Ireland.

· This project will also highlight data and knowledge gaps for further exploration and research.

· New international research links have been forged between the surveys, which will result in more projects.

The Minster added that " this new data is also very timely in the context of the Atlantic exploration licensing round which was opened this summer and concludes in September 2015."

The Irish contribution to the NAGTEC project was co-ordinated by Maria Judge, INFOMAR Geologist at the Geological Survey of Ireland, and employed technical support from a post-doctoral researcher, Dr Kenneth McDermott, who was based at the School of Geological Sciences, UCD under the supervision of Prof. Pat Shannon. The project was also supported by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources' Petroleum Affairs Division of Ireland, who permitted access to the released offshore petroleum exploration data, from which much of the data products were generated.

The release of the atlas, to sponsoring companies initially, is timely for Ireland, as it comes after new licensing terms have been recently proposed and a new seismic data gathering exercise is underway, while another offshore licensing round will take place in 2015.

Published in Marine Science
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NUI Galway's Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has published its second report on Ireland's Ocean Economy as part of their ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland.

Results from the report show that in 2010, the direct economic value of the Irish ocean economy was €1.2 billion or approximately 0.8% of GDP. The sector had a turnover of €3.5 billion, and provided employment for approximately 16,300 people (Full Time Equivalent). The report allows for the comparative analysis of the contribution of the marine sector to the national economy in the 2007-2010 period.

Emerging marine industries are growing much faster than established marine industries, albeit from a low base. High tech marine products and services, marine biotechnology, bio-products and marine renewable energy all recorded a large increase in turnover and employment but gross value add was unchanged or decreased.

During the period 2007-2010, established marine industries such as shipping, maritime transport, marine tourism and marine manufacturing, construction and engineering recorded a significant fall in activity. Sea fisheries experienced a fall in overall turnover but gross value added and employment increased. Aquaculture increased turnover and gross value added, but employment fell.

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute welcomed the publication, saying "These trends are in line with other productive sectors and reflect the impact of the global downturn, representing the period at the lowest point of the economic contraction. However, recent data also reported here highlights a positive outlook across a number of sectors, for example seafood, tourism, and shipping sectors are now showing positive signs of recovery and growth."

The timely availability of statistics across the sector is vital to monitor the targets set out in the Government's Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The collection and reporting of marine socio-economic data is essential for evidence based policy and decision-making, economic forecasting and scenario planning.

Dr. Amaya Vega, SEMRU, presented the report to Minister Coveney, and provided copies of the report to members of the newly established Development Task Force, had its first meeting yesterday and operates under the aegis of the Government's Marine Coordination Group.

The need to build capacity in the area of marine socio-economics was identified in the Sea Change Strategy 2007 -2013. SEMRU was established to carry out this role following the Marine Institute's Beaufort Marine Research Award to NUI Galway.

The full report is available to download online Here

About SEMRU

Based in the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway, SEMRU conducts research in a variety of marine related issues. The main research focus of the unit is on the economic importance of coastal and off-shore marine environments. This involves examining the economic utility of the marine environment (e.g. transportation, recreation) and ecological value (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture) derived from the productivity of associated ecosystems. The coastal and contiguous marine environment surrounding Ireland and the EU in general provides the geographical focus for the research carried out in the unit. Consideration of the human dimension in the management of marine ecosystems is also a critical component of all research projects undertaken.

Since its establishment in 2009, SEMRU has been successful in attracting research funding to support the expansion of its marine socio-economic research programme. The unit is now a partner in a number of European funded projects in the area of the socio-economics of the marine environment. For more information on SEMRU, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/semru/ .

The Irish Ocean Economy Series

The aim of the Irish Ocean Economy Series is to establish a common methodology and provide comparative data to facilitate the identification of trends in the marine economy and ascertain the impacts of policy and other interventions on these trends. Unfortunately, due to data collection and availability issues, data allowing broad coverage of the marine sector has a two year delay, this is the reason the Report published in 2013 reports 2010 data. The inclusion of paragraphs on "Overview of the Policy Regime" and "Sector Outlook" compensate for this, providing a more up-to-date view. Taking 2010 as the baseline year has both benefits and disadvantages given that it represents the bottom point of the recession.

Ireland's Ocean Economy Report Series is funded through the Beaufort Marine Research Award, which is carried out under the Sea Change Strategy and the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation (2006-2013), with the support of the Marine Institute, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013.

Published in Marine Science
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Circa €200 million has been earmarked specifically for marine research and innovation in the first two years (2014/2015) of the EU's seven year Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020). In addition, significant other funding opportunities for marine research and innovation exist under the various generic headings (i.e. food, transport, energy, environment, climate change, security, etc.).

The €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020) was officially launched in the Dublin Convention Centre on 10th December by EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan Quinn and Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD. An audience of over 2,000 participants heard that more than €15 billion (18%) of the €80 billion budget would be allocated over the first two years. This funding is intended to help boost Europe's knowledge-driven economy, and tackle issues that will make a difference in people's lives. European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "It's time to get down to business. Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life. We have designed Horizon 2020 to produce results, and we have slashed red tape to make it easier to participate. So I am calling on researchers, universities, businesses including SMEs, and others to sign up!"

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Peter Heffernan (CEO, Marine Institute) pointed out that "over the period (2007-2013), Irish marine researchers, including SMEs, participated in 127 successful FP7 projects[1] spanning a number of Thematic Priorities (e.g. Food, Transport, Energy, Environment, etc., bringing in EU grant aid of €48 million, adding value to national research and innovation expenditure and creating circa 200 contract research positions. With Blue Growth a prioritised focal area in Horizon 2020, we expect to significantly top this between 2014 and 2020".

The Commission has identified funding priorities over the first two years (2014-2015) providing researchers and businesses with more certainty than ever before on the direction of EU research policy. Calls from the 2014 budget are already open for submissions with more to follow over the course of the year. Calls in the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020:

Societal challenges: €2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020's seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security.
Industrial Leadership: €1.8 billion to support Europe's industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space.
Excellent Science: Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers.

Published in Marine Science
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The European Union, The United States and Canada today agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal is to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources. The Agreement aims to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work will also study the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change. The EU and its Member States alone invest nearly two billion euro on marine and maritime research each year. The 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' was signed today at a high level conference at the Irish Marine Institute in Galway.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: "The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped. We probably know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we do about the deep sea floor. This alliance can make a big contribution to meeting challenges such as climate change and food security."

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "Today's agreement fully supports the Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic we put forward this month. While the initiative is of particular interest for the EU's five Atlantic states, it is open to researchers from all over Europe and beyond. The knowledge gained will be of benefit to all."

The agreement recognises that Atlantic research will in many areas be more effective if coordinated on a transatlantic basis. Areas for potential collaboration under the agreement include: an Atlantic Ocean observation and forecasting system; mapping critical areas of the Atlantic seafloor; identifying and recommending future research and ocean literacy and awareness initiatives.

Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., said: "Today marks a new political and policy awareness of the ocean's potential to create sustainable jobs and growth. Such awareness also provides broader societal benefits of understanding major environmental changes and associated risks. It was a major priority of the Irish Presidency to support the achievement of an Atlantic Ocean research alliance and I welcome the signing of the Galway Statement by the European Commission, the United States and Canada here at the Marine Institute today. The delivery of a Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic was also a priority of Ireland and I congratulate all those involved in the launch of the Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area."

"The enormous economic potential of the Atlantic remains largely untapped"

The Atlantic Action Plan aims to show how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "blue economy", which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020.

Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: "Ireland has a significant role to play in the implementation of the Atlantic Area Action plan and will also derive many benefits from it. The Government's 'Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth' is rooted in the role the oceans can play in our economic recovery with a goal of significantly increasing the turnover of Ireland's "Blue Economy" to over €6.4Billion by 2020 and doubling the GDP contribution by 2030 (to 2.4%)."

Published in Marine Science
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#marinescience – Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, have announced funding totalling €60m dedicated to 85 pioneering research initiatives writes Cushla Dromgool-Regan.  These awards, administered via Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Investigator Programme, include three major awards to support Irish marine science research.

Speaking of the announcement, Minister Sean Sherlock said that over the past decade, Ireland had invested heavily in R&D and that the rewards were clearly visible.  "What is particularly heartening about the announcement is that much of this excellent research, which was selected competitively following international peer review, and is being done in collaboration with companies that are seeking to find new products and services, including IBM Ireland, Intel Ireland, HP, EMC and Bord Gáis."

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated Dr Dagmar Stengel of the National University of Ireland-Galway, Dr Jens Carlsson of University College Cork and Dr Nicolas Touzet of IT Sligo for their "excellent performance" in securing research funds from this highly competitive SFI scheme. "The three marine-based projects are recognition of the internationally-ranked quality of these Irish marine research scientists and the relevance of their work to Irish industry. These projects are particularly relevant to firms that seek to develop value-added products based on marine biological resources and are a boost for Ireland's marine research community. "

Dr Heffernan also highlighted the significance of these awards to Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, saying "each project will deliver new knowledge that supports the plan's goals for a thriving maritime economy and healthy ecosystems."

Two of the researchers had previously been funded by the Marine Institute. Dr Carlsson worked on the Fish Population Genetics project supported by the Beaufort Marine Science Award, and a project led by Dr Stengel, Phlorotannins in Irish Brown Seaweed - Investigations of their UV-protective - Effects and Potential as Natural Sunscreens was funded under the NDP awards 2000-2006.  Dr Stengel is currently a Principal Investigator on the MI/DAFM co-funded NutraMara marine functional foods project.

The SFI award to Dr. Carlsson of €194,498 will support the project, Taxonomy and connectivity of animal species at the Moytirra hydrothermal vent field: developing methods for assessing ecological impacts of mineral extraction in the deep-sea. This builds on the VENTuRE expedition—led by University College Cork, funded by the Marine Institute andinvolving RV Celtic Explorer— which discovered the Moytirra hydrothermalvent field in July 2011.

Dr Stengel received an award of €244,782 to support her project, Iodine in commercially valuable Irish seaweeds: variability, pathways, and implications for industrial applications.

Dr. Nicolas Touzet received an award of €380,000 for the METALGAE project, which will focus on investigating the diversity of microalgae from marine, estuarine and freshwater environments in western Ireland to identify and culture, under controlled conditions, the species with high potential for market-targeted biotechnological applications.

Published in Marine Science
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#marinescience – The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, today (Friday 25th January 2013) announced funding totalling €60 million dedicated to 85 pioneering research initiatives. These awards administered via Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Investigator Programme included two major awards supporting Irish marine science research.

Speaking of the announcement of the SFI Investigator Awards, Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock said, "over the past decade, Ireland has invested heavily in R&D and the rewards are clearly visible. What is particularly heartening about today's announcement is that much of this excellent research, which was selected competitively following international peer review is being done in collaboration with companies who are seeking to find new products and services, including IBM Ireland, Intel Ireland, HP, EMC and Bord Gáis."

On behalf of the Marine Institute, Dr Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute congratulated Dr Dagmar Stengel of the National University of Ireland, Galway and Dr Jens Carlsson of University College, Cork for their excellent performance in securing research funds from this highly competitive SFI scheme.

"The two marine based projects listed in the SFI Investigator awards are a recognition of the internationally ranked quality of these Irish marine research scientists and the relevance of their work to Irish industry. These projects are particularly relevant to those firms which seek to develop value-added products based on marine biological resources and are a boost for Ireland's marine research community," said Dr Heffernan.

Dr Heffernan also highlighted the significance of what these awards mean to Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth stating "each project will deliver new knowledge that supports the plan's goals for a thriving maritime economy and healthy ecosystems."

Both researchers had previously been funded by the Marine Institute. Dr Jens Carlsson worked within the Fish Population Genetics project supported by the Beaufort Marine Science Awards. A project led by Dr Stengel, Phlorotannins in Irish Brown Seaweed - Investigations of their UV protective - Effects and Potential as Natural Sunscreens was funded under the NDP awards 2000-2006. Dr Stengel is currently a Principal Investigator on the MI/DAFM co-funded NutraMara marine functional foods project.

The SFI award to Dr Carlsson of €194,498 will support the project, Taxonomy and connectivity of animal species at the Moytirra hydrothermal vent field: developing methods for assessing ecological impacts of mineral extraction in the deep-sea. This award builds on the expedition held on the RV Celtic Explorer, which was funded by the Marine Institute and lead by University College, Cork that discovered the Moytirra hydrothermal vent field in July 2011.

Dr Stengel received an award of €244,782 to support her project, Iodine in commercially valuable Irish seaweeds: variability, pathways, and implications for industrial applications.

Published in Marine Science
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#marinescience – Students of marine science from National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and University College Cork (UCC) are designing and delivering their own survey onboard the RV Celtic Voyager in Cork this week as part of an accredited inter-institutional module in Multidisciplinary Offshore Operations in Marine Science, the first of its kind in Europe.

The unique module launched by the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) will provide undergraduate students with the detailed knowledge, skill sets and experience necessary to design, plan and execute a multidisciplinary marine scientific research survey. Dr Andy Wheeler, Head of Geology at UCC said: "This accredited sea going module will give participants a competitive edge in the International jobs market, as they get hands on experience working as a team to design and deliver their own survey onboard the national research vessel."

Based on a blended learning approach, teaching will be delivered using a combination of practical training onboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Voyager, classroom lectures, laboratory practical's and a suite of supporting online resources. The module was collaboratively designed and developed by experts from higher education institutes north and south of the border including Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork and the University of Ulster with funding provided by National Digital Learning Resource (NDLR) with grant-aided shiptime provided by the Marine Institute's Sea Change programme.

Dr. Pauhla McGrane, Coordinator of SMART said: "The inter-institutional effort to produce a common blended-learning module within the SMART consortium is directly attributable to a strong, cohesive marine science community in Ireland and the common desire to collaborate on innovative forms of teaching that will ultimately benefit and add value to the student learning experience.

Dr. Martin White, lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway added "The successful development and delivery of this common module by Higher Education Institutes, in association with the Marine Institute, will further strengthen existing partnerships and will facilitate the development of further synergies across the marine sector."

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute added: "This new SMART module also makes a contribution towards the achievement of key actions in the Government's Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The plan identifies the need to maintain and build capacity (people) to meet the needs of the maritime sector e.g. through tailored education and training programmes. It is also an important step towards establishing Ireland as an international marine training destination."

The module introduces students to a multidisciplinary ecosystem approach to study the marine environment using the core disciplines of oceanography, benthic ecology, fisheries biology and geosciences. Teaching will focus on the practical, cross‐disciplinary skills involved in sample acquisition and processing, deployment and operation of equipment and instrumentation and data acquisition, processing and analysis of these data. Other elements essential in carrying out research surveys at sea will be examined, including safety at sea, survey design and planning, post‐survey analysis and assessment, vessel activities and capabilities, and vessel familiarisation and orientation.

Students will also be presented with an environmental impact assessment scenario which requires them to collaborate to design a baseline survey of their own and formulate a plan to execute it. Assessment will be based on the submission of a survey report which will include data analysis and interpretation.

See www.smartseaschool.com for more information on the programme and www.ouroceanwealth.ie for the report Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth

The Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART is an inter-institutional marine science partnership programme designed to further develop national capacity for carrying out offshore research operations onboard research vessels for third level students of marine-related sciences.

Collaborating partners within the alliance represent key marine science departments from a broad spectrum of institutions. These include:

Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)

Higher Education Authority (HEA)

Marine Institute (MI)

National Maritime College of Ireland(NMCI)

National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)

University College Cork (UCC)

University of Ulster (UU)

Published in Marine Science
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#blueecomony –  Scientists from both sides of the Atlantic met today at the ESOF 2012 Atlantic Symposium to explore the many ocean governance, economic development and environmental challenges and opportunities their shared Atlantic resource represents.

A key focus of the Symposium is how to harness evolving technology to drive the 'blue economy' through smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and how to achieve this through collaboration across the Atlantic Ocean in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

Speaking at the Atlantic Symposium, Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute said, "The Atlantic represents a significant resource, and while it separates the continents, it also presents a huge opportunity to work together to solve shared environmental issues and to explore opportunities for development and economic benefit. Today, we have taken the first steps in creating a new roadmap for better and more focussed cooperation between the European and American continents."

Prof Scott Glenn, Rutgers University, USA, described the historical, cultural and scientific links between Europe and the United States of America divided by the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. He pointed to challenges such as sustainable ocean governance, climate change prediction and impact, and deep-sea research which require a united approach.

These issues were further developed by Prof Michael St John, Danish Technical University and PI of the Euro-BASIN project, and by Dr Michael Crosby of the MOTE Laboratory in Florida who said, "The world's magnificent oceans are not barriers between us, but bridges of shared resources, challenges and opportunities. International partnerships designed to increase our scientific understanding of marine ecosystems as part of a single interconnected global system, that includes human activities, are essential for long-term sustainable use of these shared resources. However, translation and transfer of such scientific understanding is vital to enhance global "ocean literacy" in the broader public to build a foundation for improved stewardship of marine resources."

The final keynote speaker, Mr Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, said that "the EU and its Atlantic neighbours share the same values and global concerns, such as climate change, energy supply, food security and health. Encouraging and improving international cooperation is therefore a priority of the EU 'Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area' and an integral part of Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme."

Published in Marine Science

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute and Mr. Liu Qing  Vice President Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation  in relation to Fishery science and technology during a trade visit to China with Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine.   The MOU was signed at the Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing today (Monday, 16th April 2012).

The cooperation will build on the good working relationship developed between the two organisations through the successful internship completed recently by Professor Cheng-Qi Fan from the East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Science in Shanghai researching novel bioactive compounds from marine micro algae at the Marine Institute.

Dr Heffernan of the Marine Institute said "The signing of this MOU with our Chinese counterparts is an important basis for forging closer alliances with the marine research scientific community in China, we are confident that the developing relationship between researchers will be synergistic for both organisations and will lead to joint research programmes in time."

"We are pleased to commence this process with CAFS given its outstanding performance in many aspects of advanced marine research including Seafood Quality, Biotechnology, Conservation, Fisheries Technology, and Aquaculture and feel this new alliance will further strengthen Irish R&D in this important economic sectors."

The cooperation will include exchange of experts annually, submission of partner applications for European and international funding opportunities in marine research and technology and participation in programmes focussed on education and raising awareness of the marine environment.

The Memorandum comes as a result of the Action Plan on Mutual cooperation in relation to the Agri food and Fisheries sector which was signed by Minister Coveney and the Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture Niu Dun last year.

Published in Marine Science
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#MARINESCIENCE – A team of Scientists led by Dr. Louise Allcock, NUI Galway set sail onboard the RV Celtic Explorer 13th April 2012 to investigate biodiversity on the Whittard Canyon System.

Whittard Canyon is a huge canyon system that spans Irish, UK and French waters along the Atlantic margin. This survey will take place in the Irish territory where the Continental shelf drops down to depths beyond 3000 m. The Marine Institute's  Holland 1  Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be deployed to explore the steep canyon walls where biodiversity is greatest because of the fast currents there. Whittard has been explored before, but the system is so vast that some areas are still unsurveyed.

The multidisciplinary team on board will be looking for corals and sponges, which can be found in extensive reefs at some depths.  A feature of species growing attached to the seafloor is the production of chemicals, thought to deter grazing and overgrowth by other animals.  There is significant scientific and commercial interest in the novelty of these chemicals for medical applications. Material previously collected for the Irish Marine Biodiscovery Programme has shown activity against some cancer cell lines, the first step in potentially developing new treatments. Material collected on this cruise will be examined in antibacterial and anti-cancer assays as part of the National Marine Biodiscovery Programme in NUI Galway, UCC and the Marine Institute.

The survey will also carry out detailed surveys of the canyon system in collaboration with onboard taxonomists from across Europe, who are experts in identifying deep sea marine organisms. Biogeochemists from Trinity College Dublin will study the processing of material in the benthic ecosystem, with oceanographers from Galway following the transport of sediment and planktonic production to deeper waters. These studies will improve the understanding of the canyon ecosystem and the links between surface and deep waters.

The scientists will be blogging throughout the survey (13th - 29th April) and you can follow their progress here.

This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen's University Belfast.

The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland.

Published in Marine Science
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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