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Marine Institute Welcomes US Ambassador On Visit to Galway HQ

9th April 2024
US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin (second from right) with (from left) the Marine Institute’s Fiona Grant, Dr Niall McDonough and Joe Silke during her visit to the institute’s Galway headquarters on Friday 5 April
US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin (second from right) with (from left) the Marine Institute’s Fiona Grant, Dr Niall McDonough and Joe Silke during her visit to the institute’s Galway headquarters on Friday 5 April Credit: Andrew Downes/Xposure

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin visited the Marine Institute’s national headquarters in Galway last Friday (8 April) to celebrated the strong ties in marine science and technology that exist between the two nations.

The visit provided an opportunity for Ambassador Cronin to tour the institute’s state-of-the-art facilities and gain insights into its scientific programmes and capabilities, including research vessel operations, ocean observation and seabed mapping, marine ecosystem monitoring, climate science and scientific services supporting development of a sustainable ocean economy.

In welcoming Ambassador Cronin, the Marine Institute’s director of policy, innovation and research services, Dr Niall McDonough emphasised the institute’s commitment to fostering international cooperation and knowledge exchange, to not only advance marine research and innovation goals but to address global marine challenges.

US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science workUS Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin learns more about the Marine Institute’s important marine science work

“As two nations with seaboards on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the US share a deep commitment to exploring new frontiers of ocean science and sustainability,” Dr McDonough said.

“The connections between us have deepened substantially since the signing of the Galway Statement to establish the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance in 2013. We now work together as part of a growing family of Atlantic nations that seek common solutions through scientific collaboration to harness the vast potential of the Atlantic Ocean whilst safeguarding it for future generations.”

Dr McDonough is also at the forefront of Okeano, a new cross-national support group for Atlantic Ocean research and innovation, as previously reported on

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.


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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