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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

Marine Institute chemists who specialise in biotoxins have won a significant international sustainability award for their work.

The Biotoxin Chemistry team who work within the Marine Environment and Food Safety Services (MEFSS) section of the Marine Institute were recently awarded the highest level (Green) of My Green Lab (MGL) certification.

MGL is a non-profit organisation and a globally recognised leader in the ‘green lab’ movement. The MGL programme seeks to reduce the environmental impact of laboratories in four key areas — energy, water, waste and chemical use — through a combination of organisational initiatives and behaviour change.

The aim is to empower scientists to make choices that not only benefit their work but also the environment and communities around them.

The Biotoxin Chemistry team are the second laboratory within the Marine Institute to be awarded MGL certification, with the Newport facility also being certified earlier this year.

‘The Biotoxin Chemistry team’s dedication exemplifies the institute’s commitment to environmental responsibility’

As part of the MGL certification process, the Biotoxin Chemistry team enrolled in 2023 International Freezer Challenge and won the Top Small Lab Award (Government Sector).

This year, 1,991 laboratories across 170 different research institutions, representing 27 countries took part in the challenge, resulting in an energy reduction of an estimated 20.7 million kWh over the past year.

The team comprising seven staff made great efforts to incorporate a cold-storage management plan involving clearing out and cleaning fridges and freezers. Their endeavors resulted in multiple units being taken out of use and an estimated energy reduction of 66.75 KWh/day (equivalent to the electricity consumption of six average Irish households).

Joe Silke, director of MEFSS, reaffirmed the Marine Institute’s commitment to sustainability: “The Biotoxin Chemistry team’s dedication exemplifies the institute’s commitment to environmental responsibility by their recent achievement of the highest level of My Green Lab certification.

“This not only showcases our commitment to reducing our laboratory's ecological footprint but also underscores the broader positive impacts that green lab initiatives can have on our working environment, finances, reputation and staff engagement.”

Published in Marine Science

Over the next two weeks, the Marine Institute will host a first-of-its-kind European science expedition when it makes a stop in Galway.

The European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL) is carrying out a pan-European census of coastal ecosystems and their response to the environment in the TREC (Traversing European Coastlines) expedition.

Working along with the ocean schooner Tara, the expedition will explore the interactions between the two major ecosystems — land and sea — on our planet in order to better understand how these ecosystems interact, and how the organisms within them respond to changes both natural and those from human disturbance.

The EMBL mobile lab will be based at the Marine Institute in Rinville for daily coastal sampling, and the tall ship Tara will undertake offshore sampling at the same time.

The Marine Institute says it will benefit from hosting the TREC expedition as it focuses on how Ireland, as a coastal nation and part of the larger European coastal ecosystems, is subject to the impact of environmental changes.

Baseline information on coastal ecology gathered will serve as a reference point for future assessments, evaluations and comparisons to measure the impact of coastal climate change.

Moreover, TREC explores carbon capture pathways, helps understand global warming effects and examines communities of species and study antibiotics in the environment to protect Ireland's coastal biodiversity. The findings will offer valuable insights to the Marine Institute for managing and preserving Ireland’s coastal regions and marine life.

The EMBL’s sample processing van — pictured in St Abbs, Scotland on 19 August — will be in Galway to assist TREC scientists with their work | Credit: EMBLThe EMBL’s sample processing van — pictured in St Abbs, Scotland on 19 August — will be in Galway to assist TREC scientists with their work | Credit: EMBL

Commenting on the visit, Joe Silke, director of marine environment and food safety services at the Marine Institute said: “We are proud to be the local partner for TREC’s stop in Galway. The research being conducted addresses crucial issues such as pollution, biodiversity loss and invasive species, expanding on and directly relevant to the Marine Institute’s work in Ireland's coastal habitats.”

The TREC expedition brings together more than 150 research teams from over 70 institutions in 29 European countries. The Galway stopover is one of 46 regions all along the coast from Mediterranean to Scandinavian countries that they will sample over the next two years, and will be in Galway from Saturday 2 to Thursday 14 September.

At the Galway stop, the scientific activities include soil, sediment, water, aerosol, selected species and environmental data sampling involving EMBL’s mobile laboratories and the Tara ocean schooner.

The equipment and technologies in the mobile labs mean scientists can perform molecular research in direct proximity to the sampling site. This preserves the samples immediately after taking them from the field and reduces any changes or degradation that might happen during transit.

Alongside the scientific expedition, TREC is also organising several free public engagement events in Galway, encouraging the local community to find out more about marine science and molecular biology, many of which are family friendly.

These include tours of the Tara at Galway Docks on Sunday 10 September; interactive science talks with TREC scientists at Taylor’s Bar on Friday evening 8 September; ‘TREC in the City’ travelling exhibition and public workshops at various locations from 9-13 September, and Nexus Island, an augmented-reality game-based workshop at multiple locations (also 9-13 September).

Local schools are also invited to register for group visits of the Tara. Limited sessions are available 11-14 September.

For more information on these events and to register for the vessel tours, see the EMBL website HERE.

Published in Marine Science
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The Marine Institute, in partnership with several Irish agencies, will be hosting the 12th Shellfish Safety Workshop at its headquarters in Rinville, County Galway, on October 17th, 2023.

The workshop is open to those who work in shellfish aquaculture and food safety, including individuals from the shellfish industry, regulators, scientists, and researchers.

The workshop, which began in 2000 and last took place in October 2019, aims to promote high-quality and safe shellfish through presentations, discussions, and debates. The event will also generate key questions and potential areas for future research.

The workshop's principal objectives include continuing to build a shared understanding and interpretation of food safety risks arising from biotoxin and microbiological contamination and presenting recent and ongoing key research that benefits and supports the shellfish aquaculture industry and regulators.

The event will feature keynote presentations from international colleagues on developments of key importance to shellfish safety in Ireland, as well as updates and findings presented from national monitoring and research programs for phytoplankton, biotoxins, and microbiological contamination.

The workshop will also feature a poster session and exhibition stands, providing an opportunity for further discussion and to meet with representatives and colleagues from a variety of state agencies, academic and research institutions, and the shellfish industry in an informal environment.

Dave Clarke, Shellfish Safety Manager at the Marine Institute, described the event as "a fantastic opportunity for those working in the shellfish sector to meet and discuss the current issues, latest trends and patterns, and the latest research advances in the field."

Individuals interested in attending can register for the free, in-person event on the Marine Institute's website. A confirmed agenda and timeline will be provided by the end of September.

The Marine Institute, in conjunction with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Irish Farmers Association Aquaculture (IFA), is hosting the Workshop.

Published in Aquaculture

After 25 years in service with the Marine Institute, the RV Celtic Voyager is now going up for sale.

The RV Celtic Voyager came into service in 1997 as Ireland’s first custom-built multi-purpose research vessel. It has been central to the Marine Institute’s work and research, enabling Ireland as a nation to engage in high-quality marine science and to actively contribute to international research programmes.

The vessel has served the nation well over the past quarter of a century, providing marine scientists, researchers and crew members with many years of experience at sea and enabling us to deepen our ocean knowledge.

The research vessel has played an essential role in fisheries scientific research, and a vital role in seabed mapping in Irish waters as part of the INFOMAR programme.

More than 200 shipwrecks around the coast of Ireland, including the RMS Lusitania, have been mapped by the Celtic Voyager. In 2007, the survey of Galway Bay revealed for the first time a detailed seafloor and geology of the bay, confirming the location of the Galway Bay Fault.

The vessel is currently lying afloat in Howth, Co Dublin. Interested parties can contact the sole agent, Hanseatic Offshore Brokers (details below), to register interest and to arrange viewing. The closing date for registration of interest is Friday 1 September 2023.

Hanseatic Offshore Brokers GmbH
Große Bleichen 32,
20354 Hamburg, Germany
Mobile: +49 173 1 555 351
Email: [email protected]

Published in Marine Science

Irish pelagic fishers and processors are joining an international scientific initiative to provide vital information which helps inform the management of Northeast Atlantic mackerel, one of Ireland’s most valuable species.

BIM is working in collaboration with the Marine Institute and pelagic fishers and processors to install mackerel scanners in processing plants in Killybegs, Co Donegal.

Two units have been installed with further units to be fitted in factories over the next two years, with grant aid from the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).

“Mackerel remains Ireland’s most valuable wild caught export, valued at €95m in 2022,” said Dr Michael Gallagher, pelagic sector manager with BIM. “Given the importance of mackerel to the Irish seafood industry, it is critical that we collaborate to collect the best quality data for this valuable resource.

“BIM and the Marine Institute work closely together and we saw a real opportunity to reach out to fishers and processors to progress this initiative. Dr Edward Farrell of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has also played a central role in coordinating the installation and set-up of the scanners.”

Dr Andrew Campbell, pelagic fisheries team lead at the Marine Institute highlighted the importance of robust scientific data.

“In addition to annual scientific surveys and the triennial mackerel egg survey, tag-return data from this type of study also yields invaluable stock structure and age composition insights,” Dr Campbell said. “This data feeds into assessments to allow meaningful catch limits to be set for sustainable management.”

Two tagging units installed in Killybegs at the end of last year are already capturing important data. “In total, 66 tagged fish have been detected to date and we are hopeful that more valuable tag return data will be generated from the Irish mackerel fishery as more scanning units are installed in cooperation with the pelagic industry,” Dr Campbell added.

Up to 2011, mackerel were tagged by inserting small metal tags into the abdomen of the fish before release, which were then picked up by metal detectors at processing plants when the tagged fish were caught. This labor-intensive, manual process meant workers had to sift through the mackerel to pick out the tagged fish each time they heard the metal detector ping on processing lines.

"The international tagging programme has actually been in operation for over 55 years,” said Dr Edward Farrell, KFO’s chief scientific and sustainability officer. “Over 40,000 fish have been tagged annually, which is done simply by jigging for mackerel on surveys in the North Sea and off the west coast of Ireland and west of Scotland.

“In 2011, radio frequency Iidentification (RFID) replaced these metal tags and now when the tagged fish pass through the scanners in processing plants, valuable data is automatically collected without any need to touch the fish.”

BIM is hosting a pelagic information session on 29 September at the KFO offices in Killybegs where this project and other topics will be shared. To register for this in-person and online event, visit the Eventbrite page HERE.

Published in BIM

The Marine Institute's annual Poster Presentation Day was held on Friday, 28th July 2023, where student bursars showcased their summer internship research. For the first time, the 20 students not only presented posters but also gave flash presentations to supervisors, fellow bursars, and Marine Institute staff. The bursary programme, which has been active since the 1960s, offers students a unique opportunity to professionally contribute to the marine science industry before completing their tertiary education.

This year bursars worked in areas including fish husbandry, fish trap census research, ecological monitoring, data collation and organisation, marine research, INFOMAR data visualisation, DNA extraction and analysis, historical fisheries data reconstruction, climate research and outreach, finance, communications, and linking art and science.

Eight students’ efforts were spotlighted as exceptional. These students and their project areas were:

  • Rosemary Lane – Crayfish Plague Monitoring
  • Craig Ferguson – INFOMAR Seabed Mapping
  • Saoirse Cusack – Finance
  • Michael Officer – Marine Research Infrastructure
  • Colleen Kyan – Social Media and Communications
  • Brice Dourieu – Shellfish Research
  • Laura Foster – Infragravity Wave Modelling and Communications in Climate Services
  • Dan O Connell – Linking Art and Science

“It’s really wonderful to see the talent and innovation that our bursars display each year,” says Patricia Orme, Director of Corporate Services, on the topic of the Summer Bursary Poster Presentation Day. “An event like today gives us the opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work that the students have been doing for the past number of weeks. The posters were of exceptional quality, and their work added significant value to their teams and will result in lasting impacts within the Marine Institute. They should all be very proud of their efforts as the quality of work and output this year was excellent.”

Published in Marine Science

Over 75 primary school teachers took part in the Marine Institute’s Explorers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) marine-themed training courses this month.

Across the five days of these courses, they learned the value of integrating marine themes in their teaching as part of the new Primary School Curriculum Framework.

Patricia Orme, corporate services director with the Marine Institute described the courses as “key to introducing marine knowledge to teachers to share with their classes, schools and communities, particularly at a time when we need to engage our communities with the value of the ocean, marine biodiversity and with understanding climate change”.

Orme added: “Based on the teachers’ feedback, it is rewarding to know that the teachers are excited about using the Explorers seashore resources, as well as our marine-themed content for class and school projects in the new school year.”

Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education Programme strategic manager explained the benefits of these courses for teachers preparing engaging lessons for the new school year.

“The seashore courses provided teachers this year with an opportunity to explore sand dunes and rock pools, create art pieces from flotsam and jetsam, carry out beach-clean games and learn about seashore animals and different types of seaweeds,” she said. “This is a fun and interactive way to teach children about our ocean, marine biodiversity, as well as addressing serious issues such as marine pollution and climate change.

“As a number of teachers noted in their feedback, the Explorers educational resources and content supports the new Primary Curriculum Framework and is an excellent way to integrate cross curricular content throughout much of the year using thematic learning.”

The Explorers programme is also providing an online course — Exploring Ireland’s Seashore through science + — which is being delivered through pre-recordings and online support. This course provides an excellent introduction to teaching marine themes in the classroom and will be available up until 18 August.

The Explorers summer CPD courses have been developed and carried out by the Explorers team including Galway Atlantaquaria, Leave No Trace, Sea Synergy, Old Cork Waterworks Experience, Oceanics and Camden Education. The courses were supported by the Galway, Tralee and West Cork Education centres, as well as Waterford teachers centre. All the courses are approved for EPV certification by the Department of Education and Skills.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Gillooly as Interim CEO. He takes on the position following the retirement of Dr Paul Connolly at the end of June.

Mr Gillooly has worked with the Marine Institute for over 30 years. He has 30 years' senior management experience in marine technical research, operational projects and infrastructure projects and has been the Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services of the Marine Institute since 2003. Mr Gillooly was appointed Interim CEO of the Marine Institute at the June meeting of the Board.

Dr John Killeen, Chair of the Marine Institute, said, “On behalf of the Marine Institute Board, we are very pleased that Michael Gillooly has accepted the position of Interim CEO. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of not only the Marine Institute, but also the marine science industry at large, and we have every confidence that Mr Gillooly will successfully lead the organisation through this transition period.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Gillooly said, “With our recently launched five-year strategy, Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires, it is an exciting time for the Marine Institute as we look to the future at a time of significant change across the marine area. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board, the senior leadership team and all of my colleagues across the Marine Institute and the wider marine community and building on the great work delivered under Dr Connolly’s leadership”.

The campaign to recruit a Chief Executive Officer has commenced with support from Perrett Laver. You can view the job profile and find details on the application process here.

Published in Marine Science
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Yesterday, the Marine Institute, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission, co-hosted a high-level celebration in Iveagh House, Dublin, marking ten years of the Galway Statement - a decade of marine research cooperation across the Atlantic Ocean.

The milestone event, entitled "10 Years of the Galway Statement. Celebrating a decade of marine research cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean - Our Shared Resource" will continue today and Thursday at the Marine Institute and the University of Galway.

The Galway Statement is a landmark agreement signed by representatives of the European Union, the United States and Canada who agreed to join forces on Atlantic Ocean Research. The goal was to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and promote the sustainable management of its resources. The Agreement aimed to connect the ocean observation efforts of the three partners. The work also studied the interplay of the Atlantic Ocean with the Arctic Ocean, particularly in relation to climate change.

This celebration showcases and reflects on the achievements of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), which has grown to become truly all-Atlantic - from East to West, North to South, and from the Arctic to Antarctica. The event also focused on the coming years, through high-level dialogue and intergenerational discussion, on this model for science diplomacy.

Yesterday’s event programme included presentations on discoveries and achievements from the past decade, while looking to the future with discussion on the future of AAORIA.

The Marine Institute coordinated the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Coordination and Support Action up to 2020, partners in many of the Mission Ocean initiatives and looks forward to playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the All Atlantic Research and Innovation Alliance. The Marine Institute has recently launched its new five-year corporate strategy (2023-2027) which sets out eight strategic priorities centering on transforming the Institute’s knowledge, advice and services to benefit people, policy and planet. Ocean Knowledge that Informs and Inspires sets out a roadmap to enable Ireland to deliver on national and EU policy goals on sustainable seafood production, ocean science and management, environment and biodiversity, maritime transport, offshore renewable energy and climate action. 

Commenting on the event, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said “As an island nation, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland’s culture, heritage and identity are intrinsically linked to the Ocean surrounding it. The Galway Statement has been instrumental in fostering a decade of marine research cooperation. It has led to the development of numerous collaborative projects and initiatives in which Ireland will continue to play a significant role over the next decade.

Michael Gillooly, Interim CEO of the Marine Institute said, “The Galway Statement and AAORIA have delivered an exemplary example of science diplomacy. The Marine Institute is proud to have contributed to this important work and we look forward to continued cooperation with the other members of the alliance”.

Further sessions are planned over the next two days showcasing the profound impact of the past decade's marine research collaboration. A significant program highlight will be the intergenerational discussion session to engage with Early Career Ocean Professionals, contributing to the AAORIA.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute has announced details of the process to recruit a chief executive officer (CEO) following the retirement of Dr Paul Connolly at the end of the month.

Dr Connolly has worked with the Marine Institute for over 30 years. He started his career as a Marine Institute bursar, before working in fisheries and becoming director of Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services.

Dr Connolly was appointed CEO of the Marine Institute in October 2019 and led as an advocate for sustainable development of Ireland’s marine and maritime sectors, focusing on developing ocean knowledge that informs and inspires our people and policy for the long term benefit of our planet, the State agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation said.

The campaign to recruit a new CEO is now under way with support from Perrett Laver. Full details of the job description and how to apply are available on the Marine Institute website HERE. The closing date for applications is 12pm Irish Time on Wednesday 26 July.

Published in Jobs
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