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Displaying items by tag: Marine Species

Extinction threatens 48 species living in the Irish marine environment, including fish, crustaceans, shellfish and invertebrates, according to the new National Biodiversity Action Plan.

“It is imperative that we arrest these declines and start the process of regeneration,” the authors of the action plan state.

The fourth national biodiversity action plan was published yesterday by Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

The new plan has been placed on a statutory footing for the first time, and it also commits to enacting and implementing comprehensive legislation on marine protected areas.

The plan notes that in Ireland, almost a third of EU-protected species and 85% of EU-protected habitats are in unfavourable status.

It says that over half of native Irish plant species have declined in the last 20 years, and 30% of semi-natural grasslands have been lost in the past 10 years.

Over 20% of breeding and 52% of key wintering bird species are reported to have short-term declining trends, it says.

Many of the issues it identifies were addressed in the report by the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss.

The new biodiversity action plan seeks to address a number of its key recommendations.

Its 194 actions across sea and land include commitments to deliver on obligations to conserve the most precious habitats and species, and “strategically target” efforts on invasive species.

The Fair Seas coalition of environmental groups welcomed its publication, but warned that it will only work if “every single measure is acted upon promptly”.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A Pacific expedition has discovered over 30 “potentially new” marine species ranging from sea cucumbers to starfish.

The new species were collected by a team from Britain’s Natural History Museum, using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in the abyssal plans of the Clarion-Clipperton zone of the central Pacific – an area rich in minerals and the focus of deep sea mining.

Lead author of the study, Dr Guadalupe Bribiesca-Contreras, said the megafauna specimens had previously only been studied from seabed images.

Peniagone vitrea is one of the oldest deep sea species known, being discovered by the Challenger expedition in the 1870s. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.Peniagone vitrea is one of the oldest deep sea species known, being discovered by the Challenger expedition in the 1870s. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.

“Without the specimens and the DNA data they hold, we cannot properly identify the animals and understand how many different species there are,” he said.

Of some 55 specimens recovered, 48 were different species. Dr Adrian Glover of the Natural History Museum’s Deep Sea Research Group said that it was known that “small millimetre-sized animals called macrofauna are extremely biodiverse in the abyss”.

“However, we have never really had much information on the larger animals we call megafauna, as so few samples have been collected,” Dr Glover said.

“ This study is the first to suggest that diversity may be very high in these groups as well,” he said.

The researchers say the findings add further evidence that the majority of deep sea life is yet to be discovered.

This unidentified Zoroaster starfish is one of the species that may be new to science. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.This unidentified Zoroaster starfish is one of the species that may be new to science. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone covers over five million square kilometres in the Pacific Ocean, lying between Hawaii and Mexico, and is around 5,500 metres at its deepest – nearly as deep as Mount Kilimanjaro is high.

Large portions of its flat abyssal plans are covered in polymetallic nodules – mineral lumps the size of potatoes which are rich in key metals such as cobalt, nickel, manganese and copper. It has been estimated that there is more cobalt and nickel in polymetallic nodules than can be found on land.

Four specimens of Psychronaetes sea cucumber were collected, and are thought to represent a new species. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.Four specimens of Psychronaetes sea cucumber were collected, and are thought to represent a new species. Image © DeepCCZ expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation & NOAA.

These minerals are required for wind turbines, electric cars and other net-zero energy technologies, so there is a push for seabed mining to pave the way for a green revolution.

However, opponents worry that seabed mining could cause irreparable damage to seafloor ecosystems.

The CCZ is a focus of scientific research to evaluate the impacts of seabed mining on this environment, and the study examined three of the protected Areas of Particular Environmental Interest.

The study was funded with grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the leadership of Prof Emeritus Craig Smith of the University of Hawaii.'

The paper in Zookeys is available here

Published in Marine Science
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About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.