Tomasz Szumski captured the prize-winning shot ‘Micro Island - Connemara’ when he provided technical and photographic support to Dr Jenny Ronan during sampling and subsampling of the seaweed for the AsMARA project along the Connemara coastline.
AsMARA (arsenic in marine macro algae) is a three-year project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM), and is a marine science collaboration between the Marine Institute involving Dr Evin McGovern and NUI Galway’s Dr Dagmar Stengel to research seaweeds found in Ireland and assess their implications for commercial uses.
Over 100 scientists from across nine European countries entered the photo contest to highlight aspects of their research that supports the development of the European bio-economy to reduce the EU’s dependency on fossil resources, and contribute to producing environmentally friendly renewable products that meet our needs for food, materials and energy.
With the ocean representing over 70% of the earth’s surface, living marine resources such as seaweeds can provide a significant contribution to food, energy and bio-based products.
“In Ireland, there is a long tradition of using seaweeds and an increasing international interest in developing this resource into a range of products such as foods, fertilisers, animal feed and cosmetics,” said Szumski.
Through this research, the Marine Institute says it is evaluating the variability in the levels of organic and inorganic forms of arsenic in commercially harvested seaweed species to ensure their safety for such uses as food supplements and cosmetic components. The information generated supports innovation of blue biotechnologies, as well as assisting policy makers in risk management for consumer protection.
The winning photos in the 2017 CommBeBiz photo competition are being exhibited online on European project websites including CommBeBiz and the BioStep Project, as well as in Horizon Magazine, the European Commission’s research and innovation journal.
Entries for the 2018 edition will open on Monday 1 May.