Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Displaying items by tag: marine science

#MarineScience - Over 900 primary school students got to experience the wonders of the Irish marine environment at the Lifetime Lab in Cork where they participated in the Explorers Education Programme workshops from 2 to 13 March.

The pupils learned about marine animals and plants living in Irish waters. They also took part in water experiments involving water pressure, the power of the sea, making submarines and periscopes, as well as learning about the Real Map of Ireland, showing Ireland's marine territory and resources.

Lifetime Lab manager Mervyn Horgan said: "We are delighted to partner with the Marine Institute for the Explorers series of workshops, as we are always looking for new and innovative ways of engaging students in science education. Raising the awareness of marine science to Cork classrooms can only bring long-term benefits.

"We perceive the Lifetime Lab as an extra classroom for every school in the city and county, a science nursery for institutions whose high level graduates ensure that Cork has a well educated and highly skilled workforce long into the future."

Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Marine Institite added that the Explorers programme "focuses on Ireland's two greatest resources – our young people and our vast marine territory.

"Inspiring students' interest in marine through the Explorers programme, teachers are able to easily include marine themed lessons based on the Irish curriculum already taught in national schools.

"Ireland is on its journey of realising the benefits of a thriving marine sector, and by engaging students interest in marine at a young age, we hope it will encourage them to consider some of the exciting wide range of careers in the marine - especially through some of Ireland's modern marine research centres around the country."

The Explorers Education Programme brings the excitement of the sea into the classroom and has already been successfully rolled out to some 12 schools in the greater Dublin and Wicklow area as well as reaching 90 primary schools in the West of Ireland in Mayo, Galway, Clare and Sligo during the 2014/15 school year. The Cork project is a collaborative effort between the Marine Institute, Galway Atlantaquaria and Lifetime Lab.

Further information and lesson plans are available at website at For information about Explorers workshops, contact Lifetime Lab 021 494 1500 or

Published in Marine Science

#warmlkake – A lake in county Mayo is among a number of lakes around the world that are 'warming' and Irish Marine Scientists are part of a global research project examining the trend. 

Data for Lough Feeagh, situated in the Burrishoole catchment in Co. Mayoforms part of the data, and is one of a small number of lakes worldwide for which long-term temperature data are available.

A temperature recorder on Lough Feeagh was originally installed in 1960, when the Salmon Research Trust of Ireland began investigations into the movement of salmon, trout and eel through the catchment. 

The magnitude and uniformity of the worldwide trend remains unclear but to facilitate research on this topic, a global database of summer temperatures for 291 lakes from 1859-2009 has been compiled, complemented by data on local climatic drivers and lake geomorphology.

The paper describing lakes as sentinels of climate change is published in the Journal of Scientific Data, by Nature ( on the 17th March 2015. Dr Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute and co author on the paper along with Marine Institute scientists are part of the Global Lake Temperature Collaboration (GLTC), an international group assembled to provide increased access to global lake temperature records.

The GLTC project recognised that a new global database of lake surface temperatures was needed, including not only satellite data, but also "on the ground" measurements from in situ data collection programs. Since its
inception in 2010, the GLTC initiative has grown to a database of 291 lakes and reservoirs worldwide, providing summer-mean lake surface temperatures from 1985-2009, and roughly doubling the amount of data previously available from satellites alone. This new dataset represents the first publicly available global compilation of in situ and satellite-based lake surface temperature data. The GLTC database also provides information on climatic drivers (air temperature, solar radiation, cloud cover), as well as geomorphometric characteristics that may affect lake temperature (latitude, longitude, elevation, lake surface area, maximum depth, mean depth, volume).
This unique, global dataset will offer an invaluable baseline perspective on lake thermal conditions for ongoing and future studies of environmental change. The Marine Institute continues this work, and maintains an extensive environmental monitoring programme in the catchment which is used to record climate and land use changes that may impact fish stocks.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and Queens University Belfast (QUB) jointly sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at QUB’s Medical Biological Centre on Wednesday 11 March, expressing their commitment to a continued rich and productive liaison in research and education.

Over a number of years, scientists from QUB and IFI have worked in collaboration to produce high-quality research covering an extraordinary range of projects, species and topics. Current areas of joint research include fish population genetics, aquatic invasive species and fish telemetry. 

Speaking at the announcement, IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher said: “IFI and QUB look forward to building on our existing relationship to produce the highest quality research outputs and publications to support the conservation and management on the inland fisheries resource.”

The organisations are also seeking to collaborate in encouraging and supporting the development of the next generation of fisheries scientists and technologists.

Dr Gallagher continued: “I am confident that the memorandum of understanding signed here today will act as an impetus to move forward with future research collaboration to support our shared goals. I see this collaboration as vital in supporting the development and education of the next generation of scientists into whose hands the future of this resource will be placed.

“I’m also extremely impressed by the expertise and quality of the joint research currently being undertaken and I look forward with anticipation to reviewing the outputs of these projects."

Prof Christine Maggs, head of the School of Biological Sciences at QUB also welcomed the announcement. “We are delighted that there is now formal recognition of the long and productive collaboration between QUB and IFI," she said.

“The school’s expertise in fish genetics, fish biology and aquatic ecology has been successfully applied to answering significant research questions for the IFI for more than a decade.”

Published in Marine Science
Tagged under

#Fishing - The Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) convened an information meeting on the Aran Grounds Nephrops fishery and recent gear trials at the institute's headquarters in Oranmore this week.

The meeting on Tuesday 24 February was attended by more than 30 active skippers together with representatives from the IFPO, IS&WPO, IS&EPO and the KFO.

Marine Institute port-based and BIM gear technology personnel, as well as a Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine official were also in attendance.

Dr Paul Connolly, director of fisheries and ecosystem services at the Marine Institute, opened the meeting by saying that Nephrops (better known as Dublin Bay prawns or langoustines) are "a key resource for Irish fishermen, as over the last five years the value of the landings at first sale has doubled to almost €50m in 2014. Sustaining the stocks and the quota is a key management priority for the industry and the department."

He also noted that it was positive to see scientists and so many active fishermen discussing issues together.

The group heard presentations on the methodology and results of Marine Institute Nephrops Underwater Television Surveys (UWTV) on the Aran Grounds and other areas by Jennifer Doyle of the Marine Institute.

The latest ICES assessments and management advice for Nephrops on the Aran Grounds was also presented by Dr Colm Lordan from the Marine Institute, who chaired the discussions by the group.

Dr Lordan highlighted that "the assessments indicate that the stock size has declined to the lowest in the time series in 2014.

"Although fishing effort in terms of number of boat and days fished on the Aran Grounds shows no long-term trend since 1995, there has been an increase in both fishing power and efficiency with the increased uptake of quad rigs in the fishery".

According to Dr Lordan, a combination of high landings and reduced recruitment has resulted in harvest rates in 2012-2013 being twice that recommended by ICES.

He further advocated "national measures to reduce catches and effort in the short term in advance of the 2015 UWTV survey were required. This would demonstrate responsible management and give the best chance for increased stock size in June."

In response to this, Francis O'Donnell of the IFPO proposed that effort on vessels less than 20m would be limited to less than 20 days and effort for vessels larger than 20m would be limited to less than 10 days for the months of April and May. This was going to severely have an impact on some of his members, he said.

David Kirwan of the IS&EPO suggested that effort for all vessels be limited to less than 40 days for the three-month period April to June.

These proposals will be investigated by the Marine Institute to assess if they would be likely to deliver significant catch and effort reductions.

Published in Fishing

#MarineScience - The Atlantic Ocean: Our Unknown Treasure was on the agenda at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose, California on Saturday 14 February.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan joined European Commission officials and leading scientists from the USA, Europe and Canada to discuss how to explore the largely unknown Atlantic Ocean; how new technologies can help us to challenge our understanding of the planet; and how new observation and visualisation tools can improve what we know about the seabed and inform science to help shape future marine policy.

The event built on the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research Co-operation signed at the Marine Institute in May 2013 by representatives from the EU, Canada and the US, launching an Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Its goals are to better understand the Atlantic and the Arctic, to study the interplay between them, particularly relating to climate change, and to promote sustainable management of their resources.

Speaking about the event, Dr Heffernan said: "It's an exciting time, as all sides - European, US and Canadian - have shown engagement, planning and commitment to driving the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance forward and preparing joint actions.

"There are very real global challenges to be tackled, and there is strong momentum now to create significant benefits such as better ecosystem assessments and forecasts and deeper understandings of vulnerabilities and risks.

"These transatlantic collaborations will also help to generate new tools to increase resilience and adaptation and to conserve our rich biodiversity. We also really need to foster public understanding of how ocean science and observation will address pressing issues for citizens and for the environment."

Dr Heffernan concluded: "The AAAS meeting gave an opportunity to see some of the collaborations that are undertaken in the Atlantic Ocean and discuss challenges for future research, technological developments, mapping and imaging as well as research co-operation across the Atlantic."

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - Ciaran O’Donnell, a specialist in fisheries acoustic research with Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory services at the Marine Institute, has just begun a PhD research project that will link fisheries and seabed mapping acoustic technologies.

By using both technologies, he aims to learn more about how fish behave during acoustic surveys and therefore increase the precision of fish stock assessments.

O’Donnell’s research will focus on pelagic species – fish that swim in the water column – to see if there is avoidance behaviour during acoustic surveys and also to look at schooling behaviour and preferred habitat.

He’ll use the state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder system that has just been installed on the RV Celtic Explorer to look beyond the data normally captured during acoustic fisheries surveys to see if some or any of the fish being targeted by the survey are moving away from the research vessel as it passes overhead them.

“I’m really looking forward to the sea trials of the new multibeam next week (16-24 February) when we’ll get a chance to use the most advanced seabed mapping technology alongside acoustic fisheries technology. We should be able to see a much broader picture than before," said O'Donnell, a chief scientist on annual surveys for blue whiting, Celtic Sea herring and boarfish.

“Acoustic surveys are very targeted and focussed and this will allow us to capture new information about what the fish are doing beyond the target of the downward-looking fisheries echosounder. It will be like getting enhanced peripheral vision of the sea around the ship.

“We’ll be able to see if fish are moving away from the research vessel and out of the survey path and therefore will potentially enhance the precision of our current survey methods.”

The project will bring together technology and data from fisheries and seabed mapping and O’Donnell will work closely with the INFOMAR team and the advanced mapping services at the Marine Institute.

The research project, originally designed by the INFOMAR team, brings together a number of experienced researchers including Dr Chris McGonigle and Dr Rory Quinn of the University of Ulster, Dr Fabio Sacchetti of INFOMAR and the Marine Institute, and Dr David Reid of the Marine Institute and UCC.

Published in Marine Science

#Jobs - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is recruiting a senior scientist with a specific focus on statistics and modelling, technical editorial support, GIS and data management.

This permanent leadership role will be part of a dynamic research team conducting research (both national and international) on Ireland’s fish species and will report to the head of research and development.

Applicants will be short listed for interview on the basis of information supplied in their CVs.

For the full job description, see the IFI website HERE. For any further details contact the HR Department, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24 at 01 8842 662 or [email protected].

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday 27 February 2015. Canvassing will disqualify. IFI is an equal opportunities employer.

Published in Jobs

#MarineScience - The marine research vessel Celtic Explorer is back in the water with a new suite of hydrographic and geophysical sonar systems.

According to the Marine Institute, the new instruments were installed during an extensive refit in the A&P yard in Falmouth, which began on 29 December under the supervision of P&O Maritime (Ireland) Ltd.

The main work carried out during the refit was the installation of state-of-the-art sonar systems for bathymetric mapping in deep and shallow waters, and the installation of a deepwater sub-bottom profiler.

Adjustments were also made to the hull to fit the Kongsberg EM302 multibeam system and an IXSEA Echoes sub-bottom profiler.

These systems will enhance the seabed mapping capabilities of the Celtic Explorer, with the EM302 echo sounder designed to perform mapping with high resolution and accuracy to depths of 6km. The sub-bottom profiler can operate at the same depths to examine and profile surface bedrock layers and sediments.

The vessel's drop keel has been fitted with an EM2040 multibeam system – the same as that fitted to sister vessel the Celtic Voyager last year – to carry out high resolution seabed mapping in shallower waters. The vessel's positioning and motion reference systems were also upgraded to the highest standard to allow the vessel to operate the new equipment to the required accuracy.

The two-and-a-half-yearly refit included major mechanical work such as the removal of the rudder for inspection and repair and overhaul of the stern thruster. The entire vessel was painted; cabins, laboratories and common areas were refitted; and minor repairs carried out as well as an overhaul of essential systems.

The Celtic Explorer will complete a survey in the North Sea and Baltic Sea before beginning sea trials of the new equipment in Irish waters in February. The capability of the new equipment will be tested in the deep waters off Ireland's West coast under the supervision of scientists from the Marine Institute's Advanced Mapping Services (AMS) team.

Once the new systems have been calibrated and tested, they will be used extensively this year, including on fisheries acoustic surveys where their water column capability will be used to study the aggregation morphology and vessel avoidance behaviour of pelagic fish species, as part of a new PhD study.

The new systems will also be used to map the deep Atlantic seafloor during passage to and from Canada in April-May this year, and will be key during two deepwater ROV surveys this year, one led by University College Cork studying cold water coral reefs, and another led by University College Dublin studying deepwater thermal vent sites on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The Celtic Explorer will deliver an intensive programme of activities in 2015 with a packed schedule to 17 December.

Beyond 2015, the systems will be used extensively to map the Celtic Sea, which will provide valuable data for the sustainable development of Ireland's fisheries as well as allowing Irish scientists the opportunity to play a pivotal role in future research opportunities in the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute is inviting students to apply for a number of work experience placements in many exciting areas for this summer 2015.

The bursaries are worth €2,200 each for an eight-week placement based in various locations including the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co Galway; Newport, Co Mayo; Harcourt Street, Dublin; and ports around the country.

The Marine Institute's Bursary Programme provides valuable practical experience for students, in areas of research such as marine fisheries, salmon management, aquaculture, environment, communications, oceanography, maritime development and bio-discovery.

The bursary programme is aimed at undergraduates of universities, institutes of technology and national institutes for higher education. The Scheme is strictly limited to undergraduates who have completed two years study in a relevant discipline.

Previous bursars have gone on to work in the Marine Institute (including two directors of the institute), Bord Iascaigh Mhara, regional fisheries boards, county councils, pharmaceutical companies and State laboratories, with some going as far afield as the EPA in Sydney, Australia and some now running their own companies.

To apply for the summer bursary programme, see the list of bursary titles on offer (Word doc), select the two bursaries that interest you most (in order of preference), complete the application form (Word doc) and return it FAO Annette Jordan, Marine Institute, Furnace, Newport, Co Mayo. The deadline for applications is Friday 13 February 2015.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineWildlife - The mystery of where Ireland's humpback whales to go give birth remains – but two whales have been tracked between the Irish coast and feeding grounds in the Arctic for the first time.

That's the big news from a new research paper in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, a collaborative effort between the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and marine science colleagues in the United States, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands.

According to co-author Dr Conor Ryan, the study reports on a comparison of the 28 humpback whales that have been photo IDed in Irish waters with a catalogue of over 8,000 such whales throughout the North Atlantic.

Ireland's "main stomping ground for humpbacks" was also examined in the paper, with a strong seasonal trend showing the whales appearing off the Kerry coast each summer – as tourists on the Wild Atlantic Way are becoming well aware.

IrishCentral reports on the latest BBC film shoot to capture the majestic marine mammals in their natural environment, before they move on to West Cork in autumn and further east to Waterford and Wexford as winter progresses – matching the movements of spawning sprat and herring shoals.

The IWDG website has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 14 of 27

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating