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Scientists Discuss 'Unknown Treasure' Of The Atlantic Ocean

16th February 2015
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Scientists Discuss 'Unknown Treasure' Of The Atlantic Ocean

#MarineScience - The Atlantic Ocean: Our Unknown Treasure was on the agenda at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose, California on Saturday 14 February.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan joined European Commission officials and leading scientists from the USA, Europe and Canada to discuss how to explore the largely unknown Atlantic Ocean; how new technologies can help us to challenge our understanding of the planet; and how new observation and visualisation tools can improve what we know about the seabed and inform science to help shape future marine policy.

The event built on the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research Co-operation signed at the Marine Institute in May 2013 by representatives from the EU, Canada and the US, launching an Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Its goals are to better understand the Atlantic and the Arctic, to study the interplay between them, particularly relating to climate change, and to promote sustainable management of their resources.

Speaking about the event, Dr Heffernan said: "It's an exciting time, as all sides - European, US and Canadian - have shown engagement, planning and commitment to driving the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance forward and preparing joint actions.

"There are very real global challenges to be tackled, and there is strong momentum now to create significant benefits such as better ecosystem assessments and forecasts and deeper understandings of vulnerabilities and risks.

"These transatlantic collaborations will also help to generate new tools to increase resilience and adaptation and to conserve our rich biodiversity. We also really need to foster public understanding of how ocean science and observation will address pressing issues for citizens and for the environment."

Dr Heffernan concluded: "The AAAS meeting gave an opportunity to see some of the collaborations that are undertaken in the Atlantic Ocean and discuss challenges for future research, technological developments, mapping and imaging as well as research co-operation across the Atlantic."

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)

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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