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New Research Project on Impact of Climate Change on Pathogens in Coastal Waters

9th November 2022
Prof Dearbháile Morris of the University of Galway’s One Health team said that coastal waters are “important for tourism, fishing and recreational activities”
Prof Dearbháile Morris of the University of Galway’s One Health team said that coastal waters are “important for tourism, fishing and recreational activities”

The impact of climate change on pathogens in coastal waters, which may pose health risks is the focus of a new EU-funded research project involving University of Galway scientists.

The €10m Horizon Europe project involves scientists in 12 institutes across ten European countries.

Entitled BlueAdapt – Reducing Climate Based Risks in Blue Environments, it aims to investigate the complex interactions between climate change, pathogen dynamics and human health.

An interdisciplinary team involves microbiologists, epidemiologists, economists, climate scientists and policy specialists, and is led by Prof Marc Neumann of the Basque Centre for Climate Change.

Prof Dearbháile Morris of University of Galway’s One Health team said that coastal waters are “important for tourism, fishing and recreational activities”.

“Through BlueAdapt we hope to assess how bacteria and viruses in our coastal waters respond to different climate change scenarios and understand better the potential impacts for human health,” she said.

Dr Sinead Duane, lecturer in marketing and part of the University of Galway One Health team said that “testing and monitoring are key ways to improve and maintain the quality of our coastal waters” and “how we interact with our coastal waters also plays a role”.

“Through the development of behaviourally enhanced smartphone app technology, Blue Adapt will deepen our understanding of coastal water users behaviours and attitudes to exposure pollution events,” she said.

“ This information will help develop targeted interventions in the future. This app will capture how users respond to warnings of pollution events in real time,”she said.

BlueAdapt is a partnership between University of Galway, the Basque Centre for Climate Change, University of Exeter, Charles University, University of Warsaw, Deltares, CMCC, EuroHealthNet, Bangor University, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, University of the Basque Country and ThenTryThis.

BlueAdapt is funded under the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

Published in Marine Science
Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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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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