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Galway Showcases Marine Science on 'Sea2Sky' Research Night

26th September 2012
Galway Showcases Marine Science on 'Sea2Sky' Research Night

#marinescience – Galway will celebrate European Researchers' Night on Friday 28th September together with 320 cities around Europe. The Sea2Sky event organised by NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute, Galway Atlantaquaria and its new partner CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork, will showcase science on the grandest of scales themed around marine science, atmospherics and astronomy.

The main events will be held at the Galway Bay Hotel, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, with events also taking place in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork.   Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, will officially open the Irish segment of European Researchers Night at 3pm to coincide with events starting right across Europe.

A variety of interactive stands at Galway Bay Hotel will highlight the work of the Marine Institute showing how Ireland's has a rich and diverse marine ecosystem.

"The Sea2Sky event provides a great opportunity for the wider community to engage with scientists and researchers at a local level in Galway and learn about Ireland's marine resource which is ten times the size of its land mass," said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

"As a key step in developing our marine sectors including marine technology, seafood, marine biodiscovery, as well as marine tourism, shipping and oil & gas, it is important at events such as this to help encourage the young people of Galway to consider careers in marine research and science now and in the future," he said.

Celebrating marine science and research the Marine Institute will greet visitors with some of Ireland's most impressive marine science, technology and equipment:

The Marine Institute will be showcasing:

The ROV Holland 1 and a Weather Buoy, which will be on display at the entrance to the main exhibit centre at Galway Bay Hotel.  Scientists and technicians will be there to explain the work of the equipment and recent expeditions.

Inside the exhibit area, Marine Institute scientists will be exhibiting their work relating to:

Marine Environment: The phytoplankton team will be highlighting what life is in the drop of seawater - promoting the Marine Institute's responsibility in monitoring algal blooms and highlighting their work in the national shellfish food safety programmes.  Visitors to the event will get the opportunity to see take the living "invisible" phytoplankton from a rock pool and look at it under a microscope.

Weather Monitoring and Oceanography: Scientists will show a variety of technology used for providing vital data for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings – some of which have recorded Ireland's largest waves at sea.

Advanced Mapping & the Real Map of Ireland: The advanced mapping team will be show casing INFOMAR and seabed mapping and the extent of Ireland's 220 million acre marine resource along with learning about shipwrecks in the deep sea.

Research Vessel's Operations: The RVops team will be displaying the work of the national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and the RV Celtic Voyager, as well as the remotely operated vehicle  ROV Holland 1 and the special equipment used in different expeditions.

VENTuRE scientific expedition / Biodiscovery and Ecosystem Survey of the Whittard Canyons: A short film will be running throughout the day at the Marine Institute stand, showing the newly discovered and previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge taken by the ROV Holland 1 last year.  Amazing footage of the cold water corals and life under the sea at depths of 3000m taken during the  Biodiscovery and Ecosystem Survey of the Whittard Canyons will also be shown.

Explorers Education Programme: The Explorers education officer and her team from Galway Atlantaquaria will also be providing demonstrations to children and school teachers highlighting how the seashore is a vital teaching resource and Through experiments and a  variety of demonstrations children will be able to look at life in a rock pool in the Explorers display tank - the Nobby boat.

"Irish researchers are involved in some huge European research projects, and this is an opportunity to share some of the most exciting elements with the public.  At third-level, we have seen a surge in applications for science related courses and this event will be a real draw for anyone tempted by a career in science and research," said NUI Galway's Dr Andy Shearer, lecturer in physics and organiser of the event.

Last year, some 10,000 people came to the event, and the plan is for an even bigger event this year, with highlights including the CERN exhibit, 3D tours of the universe and tours of the aquarium. This year visitors can participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas and get to know the researchers at the free family fun event.

This year, Sea2Sky is linking up with the Galway Science Forum's exhibition about the work of CERN – Accelerating Science. This exhibition, sponsored by Boston Scientific in partnership with NUI Galway, will show how CERN's Large Hadron Collider can help us understand fundamental questions about the origins of the universe.

For further details of the event visit

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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