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Celebrate Engineers Week With Galway Atlantaquaria and the Marine Institute

28th February 2022
An Argo float deployed as part of the Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate survey
An Argo float deployed as part of the Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate survey Credit: Tomas Szumski/Marine Institute

This weekend, Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 March, Galway Atlantaquaria and the Marine Institute support STEPS Engineers Week with a weekend of fun, facts and competitions at the national aquarium in Salthill.

The weekend will be dedicated to the Argo float and showcase the importance of marine science and engineering.

Argo floats are robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and are engineered to move up and down between the surface and a mid-water level collecting data as it travels the ocean.

Each float is programmed to rise to the surface every 10 days to transmit its data via satellite so scientists can monitor the ocean temperature and circulation. At the surface, the Argo float can also receive new mission instructions when it connects to the satellite.

There are currently close to 4,000 floats in the Argo Programme collecting and transmitting data from areas of the global ocean that would otherwise be impossible to reach.

Galway Atlantaquaria will have an Argo float from the Marine Institute on display over the weekend. Visitors can view this marine robot up close and can take a look inside at the inner workings and electronics that drive it on its mission.

Each day, there will be videos showing how the Argo floats are deployed at sea and how they work. Visitors can view the full global fleet online and see the data they transmit back via satellite.

Argo floats distribute real-time information on temperature and salinity down to a depth of 2,000 metres below the ocean’s surface. Measuring the temperature and salinity of the ocean is crucial in better understanding climate change and the role of our oceans on our climate.

Garry Kendellen of Galway Atlantaquaria said: “I have followed the floats for a long time, and these devices are an amazing example of engineering to help us monitor the ocean. The climate crisis is of great danger to our own health and these devices give us valuable information on changes in ocean circulation.”

All are invited to attend and talk with scientists from Galway Atlantaquaria and the Marine Institute to discover why marine engineering is so important. There will be plenty to see and do with puzzles, fun and competitions to be won.

But be sure to book early to avoid disappointment on the Galway Atlantaquaria website at

Engineers Week brings the fascinating world of engineering to life in communities nationwide, inspiring children to engineer the Ireland of tomorrow.

Published in Marine Science Team

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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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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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