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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

Nineteen postgraduates presented their marine research highlighting the innovation and contributions being made towards the growth of the marine sector in Ireland at the Cullen Fellowship Programme’s two-day annual meeting last week.

Dr Peter Heffernan, chief executive of the Marine Institute which hosted the meeting in Oranmore, had particular praise for Philip Stephens of NUI Galway and James Fahy of University College Dublin, who recently completed their respective Master’s degrees in Science.

“The graduates and other Fellows’ high level of accomplishments are welcomed in Ireland, particularly when the ocean sector is one of the fastest areas of economic growth, outpacing progress in the general economy in recent years,” Dr Heffernan said.

The Cullen Fellowship Programme has provided grant aid to the value of €1.9 million supporting 24 PhD and three Master’s students in their research over the last four years.

This has involved 15 research themes identified in the National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021, ranging from marine technology and fisheries management to oceanographic research, aquaculture, fish health, food safety, seabed mapping, marine technology, shipping and maritime transport, marine environment, marine economics, law and policy, education and outreach.

“We are extremely pleased with the high calibre of skilled marine researchers that have been involved with the Cullen Fellowship in recent years,” said Martina Maloney of the Marine Institute’s research funding office.

“The opportunities that the students have gained has helped further support the Government’s national Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth strategy in developing a thriving maritime economy, building healthy marine ecosystems and creating engagement with the sea.”

The growth of Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017 had a direct impact of €5.5bn turnover employing over 32,000 people. The Government investment in the ocean economy is on track to double the value of Our Ocean Wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030.

“We are reliant on the ocean for its food through fisheries and aquaculture, ocean transport involving shipping and tourism as well as the societal impact the ocean provides us,” Dr Heffernan said.

“Therefore, with the trend in changing economies, new forms of energy, transport and food production transforming industries, companies and jobs in the near future, it is important that we continue to invest in third level research for our next generation of marine scientists and researchers.”

The Marine Institute set up the Cullen Fellowship programme in 2014 in memory of Anne Cullen (1958-2013), who had made a significant contribution to the work of the Marine Institute over 35 years, inspiring many students through the Institute's bursary programme, encouraging students to get hands-on experience to support their study.

The Cullen Fellowships are carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Government.

Cullen Fellowship opportunities will be advertised as they arise on www.marine.ie under ‘Research and Funding – Current Funding Opportunities’ and through various social media channels.

Published in Marine Science

Members of the Marine Institute, INFOMAR and Explorers Education teams, as well as the chief scientist of the SeaRover survey, will be at the Galway Science and Technology Festival this Sunday (25 November) highlighting the recent discovery of a rare shark nursery in deep waters off the West of Ireland.

The shark-themed stand — All About Sharks, Sharks and More Sharks — will also provide children and their families an insight into the life of a marine scientist, what seabed mapping involves and how this led to the discovery of the shark nursery.

“It was incredible, real David Attenborough stuff,” David O'Sullivan, chief scientist for the SeaRover survey, told the Guardian. “This is a major biological find and a story of this magnitude would have been on Blue Planet if they'd known about it. Very, very little is known on a global scale about deep-sea shark nurseries.”

The SeaRover suvey, using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1 onboard the ILV Granuaile, took place during the summer 2018 off the Irish coast.

And its findings show the significance of documenting sensitive marine habitats, which will assist in a better understanding of the biology of these animals and their ecosystem function in Ireland’s Biologically Sensitive Area.

If you’re interested in learning more about the discovery of the sailfin sharks, you will find the experts at the back of the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free of charge and open to the public.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute has welcomed Irish commitments announced at the recent Our Ocean Conference in Bali which include the provision of €25 million for a 50-metre modern research vessel to replace the RV Celtic Voyager.

“The vessel will provide critical national infrastructure to enable Ireland to address the considerable challenges of Brexit and the Common Fisheries Policy as well as climate-induced impacts on our oceans,” Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said.

In addition, the Marine Institute says it has committed €2 million towards a new five-year programme of ocean and climate research.

With 50% funding from the EU ERDF scheme, the Marine Institute is running a competitive funding call to support the establishment of a principal investigator-led research team in an Irish higher education iSnstitution.

“This is a key investment to build capacity in an area of research prioritised under the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy (2017-2021),” Dr Heffernan said.

“The research funded under this programme will deliver societally relevant knowledge aimed at better understanding the complex interactions between the ocean and climate change.”

Minister Creed also announced the continued commitment to the Environmental Educational module of Ireland’s Green Schools programme, and the continued support of the Clean Coasts programme.

“These programmes aim to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity, further supporting the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme,” Dr Heffernan said.

Other announcements by Ireland include the provision of €10m to the local authority sector in Ireland to aid in the establishment of four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) and €1m over a five-year period (2019-2024) towards a new programme of ocean and climate research.

The Marine Institute also welcomes commitments announced by the European Commission which include €300 million for EU-funded initiatives for projects to tackle plastic pollution, make the ‘blue economy’ more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - More than 70 leading marine scientists from across Europe met in Galway recently to discuss open access to research on ocean observation.

The Marine Institute in Oranmore hosted the second general assembly of the EU-funded Jerico-NEXT Project, which aims to build on the ongoing co-operation of coastal observatories in Europe — such as SmartBay in Galway — for wider application by the research community and society alike.

A fundamental tenet of the project is that coastal areas are the “most productive and dynamic environment” in the world’s oceans, according to the institute, with significant potential for renewable energy in particular.

“The Marine Institute has a longstanding commitment to the collection, processing and analysis of high quality coastal marine observations,” said the institute’s Paul Gaughan.

“In Ireland we are utilising the SmartBay coastal observatory, located 5km off Spiddal in Galway Bay, as a key component in this trans-European collaboration effort.

“From this we are able to deliver high quality information about sea conditions, subsea video and audio data in real-time to scientists around Europe to access and analyse.”

Data from the SmartBay site are freely available online.

The Marine Institute also recently hosted a delegation of officials from Kenya as part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year with the Kenyan Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).

The official visit focused on developing an action plan around seven priority areas outlined in the MoU, which include plans for marine fisheries management, hydro-acoustics and assessment of pelagic fisheries resources.

Other priorities are spatial analysis and mapping of vessel monitoring system (VMS) data, integration of VMS and logbook data for fisheries management, and a data management strategy.

Opportunities for exchange, study visits and developing joint PhD and post-doctoral research projects were also a focus of discussions.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The new mission to Ireland’s offshore reaches to monitor seismic activity on the North Atlantic floor is to engage with schools while at sea.

As previously covered on Afloat.ie, scientists from the Dublin Institute for Advances Studies (DIAS) departed last Monday 17 September, on board the RV Celtic Explorer, for the three-week voyage that will see them deploy a network of 18 seismometers as part of the SEA-SEIS project.

Daniel Farrell is reporting on their work via the RV Celtic Explorer’s blog [email protected].

“I am looking forward to sharing first-hand what it’s like being on a research vessel such as the RV Celtic Explorer,” says Farrell, of CoastMonkey.ie and sponsored by DIAS and the Marine Institute.

“I have a passion for the sea, and will be filming the scientists, writing content for the blog as well as taking photos of all of the activities where everyone can keep up to date with what is happening.”

Students and teachers can engage with the mission through Farrell’s blog posts as well as with a range of resources and videos available on the SEA-SEIS website.

“The SEA-SEIS team have also organised a range of activities that both primary and secondary schools can take part in over the next couple of months,” Farrell adds.

“There are teaching resources and lesson plans from the Explorers Education Programme, as well as some great competitions involving a drawing competition and composing a rap song.”

Published in Marine Science

#OurOceanWealth - A new report aims to brings together a clear picture of all activity in Ireland’s seas for the first time.

Published yesterday (Tuesday 18 September), the National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report has been branded “a key part of the process of developing Ireland’s first marine spatial plan”, which is intended to be the marine equivalent of the National Planning Framework.

The report sets out the context in which the marine plan is being developed in order to identify the key issues to address via consultation or discussion with various stakeholders, whose responses will inform the first draft framework to be published in mid 2019.

Representatives from all key sectors — fisheries, aquaculture, energy, tourism, sport, local authorities and environmental NGOs — comprise an advisory group overseeing the process.

Speaking on the Baseline Report, Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with responsibility for marine planning, said: “When we see the demands being placed on our marine area clearly laid out, we can effectively consider whether those demands can be met simultaneously or whether some management or governance is required in particular areas.

“As we move further along the process of plan-making, the report, and your feedback on it, will play a critical part in the examining of potential synergies and co-existences, facilitating conflict resolution, anticipating future spatial needs and balancing the ecological, economic and social elements of the marine in a sustainable fashion.”

Developed with assistance from the Marine Institute, the report is available online and the public are invited to make submissions on it until noon on Friday 14 December.

A series of regional panel events discussing the report will be held shortly in Waterford (Tuesday 2 October), Galway (Friday 5 October), Sligo (Friday 12 October), Cork (Friday 19 October) and Dublin (Tuesday 23 October).

Published in Island News

#MarineScience - Researchers from the Dublin Institute for Advances Studies (DIAS) departed Cobh yesterday (Monday 17 September) on the RV Celtic Explorer with a mission to monitor seismic activity on the North Atlantic Ocean floor.

As Silicon Republic reports, the SEA-SEIS project will deploy 18 seismometers over the next three weeks to form a network that will cover Ireland’s offshore area.

These sensors will collect data over the next two years, measuring tiny vibrations from seismic and ocean waves that will inform 3D models to unveil the mysteries below the sea bed.

DIAS is partnering with the Marine Institute, Geological Survey of Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) on the SEA-SEIS mission that will use acoustic sensors developed by the iMARL deep ocean listening project.

“The geological evolution of Ireland’s offshore territory is fascinating, but there is still so much of it to be explored,” said Prof Chris Bean, a specialist in geophysics at DIAS.

He added the SEA-SEIS project means that for the first time “we will be able to make long-term direct observations of the interactions between our oceans and solid Earth in this region.”

Silicon Republic has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The extensive work carried out jointly by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland through the INFOMAR programme received substantial exposure and recognition at the 16th Forum for the Exchange of Mutual Multibeam Experiences (FEMME) in Bordeaux last week.

Hosted by the Kongsberg Maritime User Forum and focussing on seabed mapping, FEMME provides an international platform for hydrographic professionals to meet, exchange experiences and ideas, provide inspiration and contribute to improved system performance and the future of underwater mapping technologies.

High-profile attendees include the secretary general of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), chief hydrographers from the Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM), and Seabed 2030 leaders.

An overview of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment-funded INFOMAR programme was provided by Dr Fabio Sacchetti, who updated the audience on future plans as well as recent achievements of the Irish national seabed mapping initiative.

Dr Sacchetti highlighted 10 case studies featuring multiple applications of multibeam technologies in support of sectors including coastal engineering, marine conservation and marine heritage and tourism.

In addition, a recent high-profile collaboration between INFOMAR and various US and Canadian research institutes was presented by international research partners in attendance.

INFOMAR featured prominently in a talk by Prof John Hughes Clarke (CCOM/University of New Hampshire) when describing research into the impact of internal wave activity on multibeam bathymetry in an Irish/Celtic Sea context, based on work conducted onboard the RV Celtic Explorer.

Prof Clarke has been collaborating with INFOMAR since 2015, and he is particularly focused on using hydrographic and fisheries sonar systems, combined with oceanographic data, to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics and complexities of the Celtic Sea.

Jose Cordero, of Instituto Hidrografico dela Marina (Spain), demonstrated how improved sound speed control through remotely detecting thermocline undulations can be achieved.

The study was the result of a collaboration carried out in 2017 onboard the RV Celtic Explorer during a routine INFOMAR survey.

Finally, Anand D Hiroji (HSRC/University of Southern Mississippi) showed how unambiguous radiation pattern extraction methods can improve data derived from multisector multibeam Sonars. Once again, this study was carried out using data acquired by INFOMAR onboard the RV Celtic Explorer.

As Ireland continues toward completion of its seabed mapping programme in 2026, the Marine Institute says it is “widely acknowledged internationally” that our best practice approach towards open and integrated data acquisition, integration and exploitation “is a valued model, and one which gives Irish researchers and technology developers a global audience, and market.”

Published in Marine Science

#Angling - Novice anglers are invited to try their hand at fishing at the upcoming National Ploughing Championships.

Inland Fisheries Ireland will attend the three days that kick off in Screggan near Tullamore, Co Offaly from tomorrow, Tuesday 18 September, with a fun fishing simulator suitable for all the family.

The simulator will be present at IFI stand within the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment’s tent at the championships.

Fisheries officers will be on hand to answer questions from members of the public around best farming practice on waterways, and how to take up angling as a novice, as well to provide information and guidance around Ireland’s fish species and the aquatic environment.

There will also be aquariums with a range of coarse and game fish species on display.

“The participation of the public in the fisheries resource is vital in ensuring it is protected and enhanced in a sustainable manner for both the recreational and economic benefits it offers to communities nationwide,” says Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development.

“We are looking forward to sharing insights into the fisheries resource, and the indigenous fish species that live within it, with both the general public and the farming community.”

Also exhibiting at the National Ploughing Championships this year are Leave No Trace Ireland and the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, who aim to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans at their stand in the the Department of Community and Rural Affairs tent.

“A truckload of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day, and it is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change,” explains Maura Lyons, chief executive of Leave No Trace Ireland.

“Although we are all contributing to this worldwide epidemic, recent campaigns such as Say #No to Plastic have generated an amazing amount of supporters at community levels – particularly with children and families wanting to create change.”

With the research being completed in Ireland and around the world, results of plastics making their way into the ocean are showing a significant impact on the marine environment and animals.

Unprecedented levels of microscopic plastic particles were recently detected in an oceanic survey carried out by phytoplankton, biotoxin and oceanographic scientists from the Marine Institute.

From the larger plastics to clothes fibres from our washing machines all making their way into the ocean, visitors to the Leave No Trace/Explorers Education stand will get an opportunity to learn how long it takes for single-use plastic to break down, as well as receiving tips on how to go plastic free.

Those attending will also get to see live native marine species that are typically found in rock pools around the Irish coast including dogfish, plaice and starfish in the Explorers display boat.

“It is great to see an increased interest from children, schools, communities and businesses in Ireland that have already committed to reducing single-use plastics by offering alternatives for customers,” Lyons says. “These small changes can result in big impacts, which will help encourage a change in behaviours.”

Published in Angling

#MarineScience - Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have identified ‘super healing’ capabilities in limpets, as Trinity News reports.

The small molluscs, which can be found in coastal areas all around the world, were studied for a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Trinity scientists found that the limpets they studied were able to sense minor damage to their shells from weathering or predator attacks, and repair them much in the way mammals heal broken bones.

Meanwhile, sea sponges recently discovered in Ireland’s deep ocean territory could hold special medicinal properties, according to The Irish Times.

Samples taken during the recent Marine Institute expedition are being tested for their effectiveness in treating cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy and other conditions.

The relevant chemicals are produced by the sponges as part of their defences against competing marine organisms, and NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Alcock hopes to see positive results within the next year.

Published in Marine Science
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