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INFOMAR Develops Transatlantic Co-operation In Seabed Mapping Programme

16th October 2014
INFOMAR Develops Transatlantic Co-operation In Seabed Mapping Programme

#MarineScience - George Hanna, a student of the Benthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey (BEAMS) programme in the USA, recently joined the Irish INFOMAR team on the research vessel RV Celtic Voyager during an inshore survey of Mizen Head, Co Cork.

The INFOMAR team provided fieldwork training on board the RV Celtic Voyager using the newly installed EM2040 state-of-the-art multibeam technology to develop detailed maps of the seafloor, as well as a sub-bottom profiler to identify and characterise layers of sediment and rock and surrounding habitat.

Training support is hugely beneficial in developing academic and career opportunities in bathymetric and seafloor habitat mapping on both sides of the Atlantic.

“With the rapid growth of new technologies used in ocean surveying, it is important that undergraduate students get fieldwork experience which focuses on strengthening their skills that can be used in the workforce,” said Thomas Furey, manager of Advanced Mapping Services at the Marine Institute and joint INFOMAR programme manager with the Geological Survey of Ireland.

Collaboration with the College of Charleston and University of Washington’s BEAMS programme came about after focussed development of international INFOMAR industry and research relations in recent years.

This was instigated following the transatlantic co-operation agreement, the 'Galway Statement', signed at the Marine Institute in 2013.

INFOMAR, which hosts its annual seminar in Waterford next week, also supported the nomination of Jay Calvert, University of Ulster, who was recently awarded a Fulbright-Marine Institute Scholarship to attend three months each at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, and Northeastern University in Boston.

The BEAMS programme is widely recognised internationally for the output of many academically qualified ocean surveyors, however gaining vessel experience can be challenging. 

Volunteering as a survey technician through the programme, George Hanna highlighted the benefits of working with INFOMAR onboard the RV Celtic Voyager, stating: “I was extremely lucky to come to Ireland to get hands on experience on the Voyager and to work with some of the best sonar technology equipment out there.

"Getting real experience during survey operations and deploying numerous ocean-survey related instruments certainly helps support me in expanding my academic opportunities and also getting future work in the area of seabed mapping”.

Published in Marine Science
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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