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New Project Uses Seabed Mapping To Study Behaviour Of Fish

13th February 2015
New Project Uses Seabed Mapping To Study Behaviour Of Fish

#MarineScience - Ciaran O’Donnell, a specialist in fisheries acoustic research with Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory services at the Marine Institute, has just begun a PhD research project that will link fisheries and seabed mapping acoustic technologies.

By using both technologies, he aims to learn more about how fish behave during acoustic surveys and therefore increase the precision of fish stock assessments.

O’Donnell’s research will focus on pelagic species – fish that swim in the water column – to see if there is avoidance behaviour during acoustic surveys and also to look at schooling behaviour and preferred habitat.

He’ll use the state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder system that has just been installed on the RV Celtic Explorer to look beyond the data normally captured during acoustic fisheries surveys to see if some or any of the fish being targeted by the survey are moving away from the research vessel as it passes overhead them.

“I’m really looking forward to the sea trials of the new multibeam next week (16-24 February) when we’ll get a chance to use the most advanced seabed mapping technology alongside acoustic fisheries technology. We should be able to see a much broader picture than before," said O'Donnell, a chief scientist on annual surveys for blue whiting, Celtic Sea herring and boarfish.

“Acoustic surveys are very targeted and focussed and this will allow us to capture new information about what the fish are doing beyond the target of the downward-looking fisheries echosounder. It will be like getting enhanced peripheral vision of the sea around the ship.

“We’ll be able to see if fish are moving away from the research vessel and out of the survey path and therefore will potentially enhance the precision of our current survey methods.”

The project will bring together technology and data from fisheries and seabed mapping and O’Donnell will work closely with the INFOMAR team and the advanced mapping services at the Marine Institute.

The research project, originally designed by the INFOMAR team, brings together a number of experienced researchers including Dr Chris McGonigle and Dr Rory Quinn of the University of Ulster, Dr Fabio Sacchetti of INFOMAR and the Marine Institute, and Dr David Reid of the Marine Institute and UCC.

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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