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Galway Bay Subsea Observatory Comes Ashore For Essential Maintenance

26th May 2018
Mark Kerrigan prepares the SmartBay Observatory for recovery Mark Kerrigan prepares the SmartBay Observatory for recovery Photo: Nick Pfeiffer/MERC Environmental

#MarineScience - The SmartBay Observatory in Galway Bay will be brought ashore for essential maintenance in the coming days.

Last week Ocean Crest Marine, with diver Mark Kerrigan, prepared for the recovery of the underwater observatory, located 1.5 km off the coast of Spiddal, which has been continuously monitoring the underwater environment over the past 15 months.

It uses cameras, instruments and sensors for continuous live underwater observations giving marine scientists and other ocean researchers unique real-time access to monitor ongoing changes in the marine environment.

Over the coming weeks, the observatory will be thoroughly cleaned, all the scientific instruments will be replaced, and new underwater lamps will be added to improve the high-definition video camera footage.

“We also plan to install a microplastics sampling net and a new underwater stills camera in partnership with European marine science researchers,” said Alan Berry of the Marine Institute.

These research projects are due to commence mid-July, when the observatory will be reinstated, to continue to collect important information on the marine environment from the depths of Galway Bay.

The SmartBay Observatory in Galway Bay contributes to a growing global network of real-time data capture systems deployed within the ocean.

Data relating to the marine environment at the site is transferred through a fibre-optic cable to the Marine Institute headquarters and onwards onto the internet.

This data includes a live video stream, the depth of the observatory node, the sea temperature and salinity, and estimates of the chlorophyll and turbidity levels in the water which give an indication of the volume of phytoplankton and other particles, such as sediment, in the water.

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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