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Irish-Based Researcher Embarks On Pioneering Deep Sea Mission In Indian Ocean

16th March 2019
Putting one of the Nekton First Descent mission’s Triton subs to the test off the Seychelles Putting one of the Nekton First Descent mission’s Triton subs to the test off the Seychelles Photo: Nekton Mission/Facebook

A leading marine science researcher based in Ireland is part of a pioneering mission to explore the depths of the Indian Ocean, as Silicon Republic reports.

Prof Louise Allcock is head of zoology at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute and has previously led deepwater surveys to investigate corals and sponges in the Atlantic on the RV Celtic Explorer.

Her latest task takes her much further afield, to the Seychelles west of Africa, where she is second-in-command behind principal scientist Dr Lucy Woodall on the Nekton First Descent mission.

Earlier this week the team carried out their first crewed dive to the ‘twilight zone’ of the Indian Ocean below 30m, where sunlight barely penetrates.

The team will be using crewed submersibles and ROVs to explore marine wildlife and plant life at depths of up to 500 metres, while also using sensors to collect data on what lies much further below.

Sky News and Sky Atlantic will be broadcasting live from the Nekton mission this coming Monday 18 March from 8am as part of the Sky Ocean Rescue initiative.

It is hoped the mission’s research will inform science and government policy on a range of issues from conservation to climate change.

“It’s very exciting to be deploying so many different pieces of equipment and doing such a thorough survey of the ocean,” Prof Allcock said.

And she has already been granted her wish to see a sun fish in its natural habitat while on one of the mission’s Triton submarines.

Silicon Republic has more on the story HERE.

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.


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