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Displaying items by tag: Oceans of Learning

Tune into a live chat with Ireland’s marine scientists to celebrate World Oceans Day next Wednesday 8 June.

The conversation will be broadcast live on the Marine Institute’s socials — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube — at 10.30am.

Join Marine Institute scientists David O’Sullivan, Claire Moore, David Stokes and Caroline Cusack to hear what it’s like to survey our seas on Ireland’s national marine research vessels.

The RV Celtic Explorer and the RV Celtic Voyager are among the most intensively used research vessels in the world, and have played an essential role in fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, and oceanographic research.

Expeditions on the RV Celtic Explorer in Irish and international waters have resulted in many exciting discoveries — from deep-water shark nurseries and cold-water coral reefs to to hydrothermal vents fields in the mid-Atlantic.

The panel of scientists will share what they enjoy about their work at sea and some of their most memorable experiences while on board. They will also talk about their career paths and offer advice for those interested in pursuing marine and maritime careers.

This live broadcast is part of the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning series, which aims to remind everyone of the major role the ocean has on our everyday lives and to inspire a new generation of ocean champions.

More about the scientists taking part in the live chat:

David O’Sullivan, Advanced Mapping Services
David is part of the Advanced Mapping Services team at the Marine Institute and Ireland’s national seabed mapping programme, INFOMAR. David was offshore chief scientist for the SeaRover surveys (2017-2019) which mapped sensitive marine habitats at depths of up to 3,000 metres in Ireland’s offshore territory using the ROV Holland 1. The SeaRover team mapped cold-water coral reefs, documented new species within Irish waters and discovered a rare shark nursery 200 miles west of Ireland.

Claire Moore, Fisheries Scientist
Claire is a fisheries ecologist, and says she feels more like a detective then a biologist. She works on solving biological puzzles around the health and productivity of our oceans, piecing together valuable information collected at sea, in ports and labs, to produce statistical models that inform our decisions for a sustainable future.

David Stokes, Fisheries Scientist
David is an enthusiastic fisheries scientist with over 25 years’ experience in data collection and analysis, both in marine and freshwater. David has worked with the Marine Institute for the last 22 years to run the Irish Groundfish Survey programme on the RV Celtic Explorer, which originally started on the RV Celtic Voyager combined with chartered commercial fishing vessels.

Caroline Cusack, Biological Oceanographer
Caroline leads the Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate survey on the RV Celtic Explorer. She is also involved in ocean observation projects that monitor the health of our ocean. Recently she has carried out research related to developing marine ecosystem climate services.

Published in Marine Science

In the lead-up to World Oceans Day next Wednesday 8 June, this week the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning series looks to the future of marine research with the arrival of Ireland’s new research vessel, the RV Tom Crean.

Sea trials have commenced on the new 52.8m state-of-the-art research vessel in the Ría de Vigo estuary in Spain, which is one of the final stages before its delivery to Ireland.

The vessel build was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and on completion the RV Tom Crean shall replace the RV Celtic Voyager, which came into service as a marine research vessel in 1997.

The RV Tom Crean will provide a year-round service for expanded fisheries surveys, seabed mapping, deep-water surveys, oceanographic and environmental research. The multipurpose research vessel will enable 300 operational days at sea each year and up to 3,000 scientist days per year.

“We are delighted with the progress on the build of the RV Tom Crean, and it’s heartening to see the vessel build entering into these final stages on schedule and on budget,” Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly said.

“The new vessel will be a huge asset in continuing to lead and support high-quality scientific surveys that contribute to Ireland’s position as a leader in marine science, far into the future.”

The vessel is designed to incorporate the latest proven technologies to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible, with reduced fuel consumption and minimising the vessel’s environmental impact and carbon footprint.

It will be a silent vessel, capable of operating throughout the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and will be able to go to sea for at least 21 days at a time.

Based in Galway, the vessel will be used by the Marine Institute, other State agencies and universities to undertake research and surveys and it will also maintain and deploy weather buoys, observational infrastructure and the institute’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland I. It will accommodate up to 26 personnel on board, including 14 scientists.

The new vessel is named after Tom Crean, the renowned seaman and explorer who undertook three major ground breaking expeditions to the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th century. These sought to increase scientific knowledge and to explore what were, at the time, unreached areas of the world.

Key milestones in the ship’s build include the laying of the ship’s keel in November 2020 and the completion of the ship’s hull in September 2021. This latter phase of the project involved upwards of 70 personnel working during some of the stages, which included the joining of the 32 individual hull units, installation of the vessel generation sets, electric propulsion motor, dock equipment and the vessel’s unique silent seven-bladed propeller.

In November 2021, the RV Tom Crean made its momentous first splash when its hull was launched at the Astilleros Armón shipyard in Vigo, Spain.

Work continued on the ship build during winter 2021 and spring 2022 with sea trials beginning last month. The Marine Institute website has a handy timeline of the ship’s build process.

Oceans of Learning is also celebrating the legacy Ireland’s other marine research vessels, the RV Celtic Voyager and RV Celtic Explorer, as previously reported on

Published in RV Tom Crean

In the fourth and final week of the Oceans of Learning series, Our Ocean: Our Future looks at the importance of research, innovation and collaboration to sustainably manage our ocean for future generations.

Ireland has earned a strong reputation in Europe and internationally for cutting-edge marine science research, innovation and collaboration. The country is also a global leader in the field of seabed mapping, and aims to be the first in the world to map its entire marine territory by 2026.

“Research and collaboration are key to ensuring the future sustainability of our ocean,” said Mick Gillooly, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute. “Ireland has strengths in many areas of marine research and is working with partners across the globe, to monitor, understand and protect our marine environment.

“Understanding our ocean and providing the scientific advice for its sustainable use are central to the Marine Institute’s work and are key to our future. We want to ensure our seas maintain a healthy state for generations to come.

‘There’s enormous opportunity for us all to work together and be engaged in ocean innovation and research… This is an exciting time for Ireland’

“Looking to the decade ahead, there’s enormous opportunity for us all to work together and be engaged in ocean innovation and research, for what is possibly the last great exploration campaign on earth. This is an exciting time for Ireland.”

As previously reported on, the fourth and final episode of the Oceans of Learning podcast series explores how the next generation can seek to influence and engage with politicians and government and why research and innovation is so important for the marine environment.

Meanwhile, the Marine Institute has launched Voyages — a series of short vignettes profiling some of the people whose work is intertwined with Ireland’s national research vessels the RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager: fisheries scientist Ciaran O’Donnell, ocean climate scientist Caroline Cusack and research vessel manager Aodhan Fitzgerald.

In addition, there is the spectacular short film Dive Deep with the remote operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1, which has enabled scientists to make many exciting discoveries in our ocean.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights also offer the Lighthouse Storybook — a collection of creative stories from children across Ireland celebrating the vital role lighthouses play in ensuring safety at sea, and how they have captured the imagination from the distant past to the present day.

To view the suite of resources available for Oceans of Learning this week, visit the Our Ocean: Our Future microsite.

Published in Marine Science
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The fourth and final episode in the Oceans of Learning podcast series airs tomorrow, Thursday 10 June, with presenter Finn van der Aar finding out how the next generation can seek to influence and engage with politicians and government and why research and innovation is so important for the marine environment.

Joining Finn to share their stories and solutions to the challenges the ocean is facing are Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs; John Bell, director of Healthy Planet and director general of research and innovation at the European Commission; Aodhán Fitzgerald, research vessel manager with the Marine Institute; and Eimear Manning and Gary Kett, who are both involved with the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador Programme.

Bell explains Europe's Green Deal, how it relates to the oceans and how Ireland can and should be an ocean superpower.

‘Over the last 10 years, Ireland has been punching way above its weight in terms of global science, research and innovation’

“Our ocean is not simply a resource, but a responsibility and an enormous opportunity in terms of knowledge and innovation,” he said.

“Over the last 10 years, Ireland has been punching way above its weight in terms of global science, research and innovation. Ireland has shown itself to be a leader, especially with the signing of the Galway Statement to create the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance with the United States and Canada.

“We now have 1,000 research teams working in the North Atlantic. Ireland has made huge progress in terms of seabed mapping, and is involved in some of the biggest science and research projects on ecosystems and oceanography. Ireland is now seen as an island leader.”

Minister Coveney speaks with Finn about his summer days beside the sea in Cork and why his passion for the ocean has helped inform his political decision-making throughout his career. He also talks about the importance of protecting and managing Ireland’s marine environment, as well as raising awareness about our ocean resource.

Fitzgerald tells Finn about next year’s launch of Ireland’s new marine research vessel, the RV Tom Crean, and some of the marine research activities the vessel will facilitate.

Oceans of Learning podcast host Finn van der AarOceans of Learning podcast host Finn van der Aar

Finn also speaks to Eimear Manning from ECO-UNESCO and Gary Kett, a marine scientist, who who want to encourage more young people to come together for climate action.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, the Oceans of Learning podcast debuted at number two on the Apple Podcast Science Charts and has remained in the top three of the most popular Nature Podcasts in Ireland throughout the last four weeks.

The four-part Oceans of Learning podcast series has featured a range of guests including researcher and big wave surfer Dr Easkey Britton and and Ireland’s first female Naval Service diver Tahlia Britton.

The new podcast series is part of the 2021 Oceans of Learning series which celebrates our seas and Ireland's marine resource. Over the past four weeks, the Marine Institute and partners have offered oceans of online resources including educational videos and short films, and the latest news and information all about our ocean.

Published in Marine Science
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This week’s Oceans of Learning resources explore the inextricable link between our ocean and our climate.

Our ocean is the Earth’s natural climate moderator, influencing weather patterns around the globe by absorbing eat and excess carbon dioxide — and affecting every one of us no matter where we live.

Here in Ireland, our climate is regulated by the Gulf Stream which protects us from climatic extremes but leaves us exposed to climate change impacts such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather events and climate-driven changes in our marine ecosystems.

The ocean’s potential as a climate solution is only now beginning and ocean research is vital to help us to mitigate, adapt and turn the tide on climate change.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our world today,” said Patricia Orme, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute. “There is significant demand for greatly enhanced knowledge and services that allow us to observe the changes to our ocean, project and model likely future scenarios and support adaptation planning.

“Forecasting ocean and climate change are important activities that support the scientific advice to many government policies and research initiatives.”

She added: “Ireland is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of efforts to better understand global ocean challenges and provide essential national services in observing and projecting the regional and local impacts of climate change.”

In the third episode of the Oceans of Learning podcast, presenter Finn van der Aar is joined by Samantha Hallam, ocean and climate scientist at Maynooth University; Dr Ken Whelan, research director with the Atlantic Salmon Trust; and Dr Triona McGrath, research lead at An Fóram Uisce, The Water Forum, to shed some light on the past, present and future of climate change and the effects on our oceans.

Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting at Met Éireann, will also share how our ocean influences our climate and weather in a video resource.

To view the suite of resources available for Oceans of Learning this week, visit Our Ocean: Our Climate at the Marine Institute website. The Oceans of Learning podcast is available to download from Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

For the latest on the Oceans of Learning series and more, follow the Marine Institute on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Published in Marine Science

The first week of the 2021 Oceans of Learning series focuses on how the ocean is key to our economy and essential to sustaining livelihoods and Ireland’s coastal communities.

In the second episode of the Oceans of Learning podcast out this week, host Finn van der Aar speaks with a range of guests about the influence the ocean has on their work and their lives.

The podcast hears from Tahlia Britton, the first woman to join the Irish Naval Service Diving Unit in 2020, and Patricia Comiskey of the SEAI about Ireland’s growing marine renewable energy sector, as well as Tracey Ryan, herbal alchemist and managing director for Codex Beauty Ireland, a plant-based biotechnology company.

Finn also speaks to Joe Silke, director of marine environment and food safety services at the Marine Institute, about supporting marine industries through licensing, monitoring programmes and marine spatial planning.

This week the Marine Institute has also partnered with Teagasc — the State agency providing research, advisory and education in agriculture, horticulture, food and rural development in Ireland — and Seavite, the Irish seaweed-based skincare range, to bring some interesting insights on seaweed in Ireland.

Seaweed harvesting is a traditional occupation in many coastal areas around Ireland, and seaweed has many valuable uses including its use in food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

To view the suite of resources available for Oceans of Learning this week, visit Our Ocean: Our Livelihoods at the Marine Institute website. The Oceans of Learning podcast is available from Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

For the latest on the Oceans of Learning series and more, follow the Marine Institute on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Published in Coastal Notes

From sailors, surfers, scientists and seafarers, to those who prefer to wade in the shallows or watch the wildlife, our sea means so many different things to different people.

As part of the Oceans of Learning programme that started on European Maritime Day yesterday, Thursday 20 May, the Marine Institute is celebrating our connection to the sea and its importance to our lives with its #SeaToMe social media competition, offering some great weekly prizes inspired by our seas.

“With 1.9 million people in Ireland living close to the coast, the sea has an impact on all of our lives every day. Many people also rely on the sea for their livelihood, from fishing, tourism and transport to our seafood industry,” said Patricia Orme, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute.

“To celebrate our connection to the sea, we are asking you to share what the sea means to you. Together, we can celebrate our seas and oceans and Ireland’s valuable marine resource.”

To enter, simply share what the sea means to you on social media using the hashtag #SeaToMe. Draw a picture, take a photo, upload a video, make some music, share an image from a past holiday by the sea or favourite place along Ireland’s coast, or be inspired to write a poem or quote about what the sea means to you.

Follow #SeaToMe and #OceansOfLearning on the Marine Institute’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And for inspiration, check out some of last year’s #SeatoMe competition entries:

Published in Coastal Notes

In recognition of European Maritime Day — today, Thursday 20 May — and World Oceans Day on Tuesday 8 June, the Marine Institute has joined with a host of partners in Ireland’s marine sector to launch a new series of its Oceans of Learning education programme.

Over the next four weeks, Oceans of Learning will enable everyone to engage with our ocean from anywhere with a new podcast series, videos and short films, news and online resources all about our seas and Ireland’s marine resource — from our rich marine biodiversity to our changing ocean climate and our oceans‘ future.

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue said: “As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with the seas and oceans and many of our coastal communities in particular also depend on them for their livelihoods.

“Collaboration and scientific research are now more important than ever as we continue to work together to understand and protect our valuable marine resource and ensure their future sustainability.”

Marine scientist, speaker and author Finn van der Aar hosts the new Oceans of Learning podcast seriesMarine scientist, speaker and author Finn van der Aar hosts the new Oceans of Learning podcast series

Mick Gillooly, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute, added: “Ireland’s marine resource supports diverse ecosystems, is a source of food, influences our climate, weather and our wellbeing, and has an important role in Ireland’s economy, providing employment in fisheries, aquaculture, ports and shipping, technology, tourism and seafaring.

“Through Oceans of Learning, Ireland’s marine sector will come together to celebrate our seas by providing a host of engaging and entertaining resources on the enormous opportunities presented by our coast and ocean.”

The programme launched with a special live webinar earlier today hosted by Irish marine scientist and author Finn van der Aar, who also hosts a related podcast series that will share stories from the people and professionals who have a connection with the sea through science, careers, industry, art and more.

In its first episode, the podcast — available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify — focuses on the link between oceans and our health and wellbeing with scientist and big wave surfer, Dr Easkey Britton.

In addition, Green Rebel Marine lead scientist Dr Aaron Lim, Sibéal Regan of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Debbi Pedreschi, post-doctoral researcher at the Marine Institute, discuss marine life on rocky seashores to the bed of the deep sea.

This week also sees the Marine Institute launch its Sea Science Series with Mark Langtry, ‘The Science Guy’. In this four-part series, Mark will bring the wonders of sea science to the screen with his entertaining, sometimes explosive, and totally educational shows.

A new short film collaboration between the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Kerry-based wildlife and underwater filmmaker Vincent Hyland and the Marine Institute also premieres this week.

Ireland’s Marine Life takes a dive beneath the waves of Ireland’s wild Atlantic waves to explore the variety of sea life found in Irish waters.

And the Explorers Education Programme has launched its Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore photo and art competition for children.

Between now and 21 June, primary school teachers, children and parents are encouraged to discover their seashore ’in my country' through photography and art.

More details on this year’s Oceans of Learning programme can be found on the Marine Institute website.

Published in Marine Science

To celebrate European Maritime Day, the Marine Institute will broadcast a special live Oceans of Learning webinar at 4pm next Thursday 20 May.

Hosted by marine scientist, speaker and author Finn van der Aar, the one-hour Zoom webinar will explore our ocean, from supporting diverse marine wildlife and ecosystems to sustaining livelihoods and the impact of a changing ocean climate.

Filmmaker Ken O’Sullivan will share his experiences searching for blue whales, sharks and deep-water coral reefs in the North Atlantic for the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic.

Finn will also speak to Roberta O’Brien, the first woman in the history of the Naval Service to achieve the rank of commander in 2020.

Commander O’Brien has held a wide variety of roles and appointments at sea and ashore, and was also the first female to captain an Irish warship when she assumed command of the LÉ Aisling in 2008.

In addition, the webinar will launch the latest Oceans of Learning series following the success of 2020’s programme.

Over four weeks, the Marine Institute will offer news, videos and resources which celebrate our seas and Ireland’s marine resource. The final week will celebrate World Oceans Day on Tuesday 8 June.

A weekly Oceans of Learning podcast, presented by Finn van der Aar, will share the stories from the people and professionals who have a connection with the sea — through science, careers, industry, art and more.

Register for the free webinar and tune in to hear more on how to subscribe and listen to the podcast — as well as join the conversation with scientists, seafarers and sea enthusiasts.

Published in Marine Science

Families schooling their children at home during the January lockdown can find a wealth of free online activities and resources from the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning series.

According to Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly, the series “highlights how the ocean has an impact on our lives every day — from providing food, transport and employment to the influence it has on our climate and weather, as well as our health and wellbeing”.

He adds: “In a challenging time, our online learning resources make it easier for those of all ages to learn about our ocean from home.”

The latest additions to the Oceans of Learning lineup comprise a deep dive on Ireland’s research vessels, including a virtual tour of the RV Celtic Explorer; exploring beneath the waves at the SmartBay Observatory; and learning how the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network is crucial to our understanding of weather.

They add to a packed series of modules last summer, taking in everything from Ireland’s coastal communities to the shipping sector, the changing ocean climate, health and wellbeing, collaboration and sustainability.

A highlight was the exclusive Irish interview with Kathy Sullivan — the first person to ever experience travelling to both deep space and the oceans deep.

These are bolstered by additional resources on the RTÉ Learn website, including the documentary series Ireland’s Deep Atlantic which features on the Junior Cert curriculum.

Published in Marine Science
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