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Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife

The wealth of marine wildlife inhabiting the shallow waters around the Irish coast is highlighted in a new book.
Ireland's Hidden Depths, published by Sherkin Island Marine Station, features photography by Paul Kay, who has studied the marine wildlife of West Cork for almost 30 years.
The book features more than 200 of his photographs, illustrating "a wealth of massively diverse and amazing marine life, glorious kelp forests and spectaucular underwater scenery."
Matt Murphy, director of Sherkin Island Marine Station, said that he hopes the book will give readers "a new perspective on the sea and encourage a sustained interest in its wonder and potential".
The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

The wealth of marine wildlife inhabiting the shallow waters around the Irish coast is highlighted in a new book.

Ireland's Hidden Depths, published by Sherkin Island Marine Station, features photography by Paul Kay, who has studied the marine wildlife of West Cork for almost 30 years.

The book features more than 200 of his photographs, illustrating "a wealth of massively diverse and amazing marine life, glorious kelp forests and spectaucular underwater scenery."

Matt Murphy, director of Sherkin Island Marine Station, said that he hopes the book will give readers "a new perspective on the sea and encourage a sustained interest in its wonder and potential".

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The public will have greater access to see shipping activity in the Port of Dublin, when a new boat-based tour of the country's busiest port starts tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Titled the River Liffey & Port Tour, the 45-minute excursion is a partnership between Sea Safari Tours and the Dublin Port Company. Tours will operate from the pontoon where the M.V. Cill Airne floating river-restaurant and bar venue is berthed at the North Wall Quay. Cill Airne was built in the Liffey Dockyard nearly fifty years ago, where she forms part of the tours audio commentary covering the history and the present day.

In addition to cruising this stretch of the River Liffey alongside the 'Docklands' quarter, the tour RIB boat will pass downriver through the East-Link toll bridge where visitors will get closer views of the variety of vessels and calling cruise liners from other ports throughout the world.

There will be five daily tours beginning at 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm.Tickets cost €15.00 for adults, €12.50 for students and the charge for senior citizens and children is €10.00.

In addition Sea Safari operate a 'River Liffey' only tour, a Dublin Bay 'North' and 'South' tours which visit Howth Head, Baily Lighthouse, Ireland's Eye and to Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay, where both bay tours provide a chance to spot local marine wildlife of seals, porpoises and sea birds.

Published in Dublin Port
Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database between 22 April and 1 May.
Other marine species spotted include minke whales (14%), bottlenose dolphins (10%) and sperm whales (2.5%).
April's unseasonably warm weather and calmer seas brought more people out to the water, which may account for this rise in figures.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Basking sharks have dominated recent sightings of large marine wildlife, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The largest shark species in Irish waters accounted for a whopping 43% of sightings submitted to the IWDG's ISCOPE database between 22 April and 1 May.

Other marine species spotted include minke whales (14%), bottlenose dolphins (10%) and sperm whales (2.5%).

April's unseasonably warm weather and calmer seas brought more people out to the water, which may account for this rise in figures.

Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Pale bellied Brent Geese, Oystercatchers and pure yellow sand. Island life on one of Dublin's islands is described in detail in the Irish Indepdendent newspaper this weekend and its hard to believe that marine wildlife adventures such as this can be had in the heart of a capital city. Christoper Somerville describes a Dublin Bay walk on North Bull Island complete with a lovely illustration. Worth a read here.
Published in Island News

Pictures of Dolphins jumping off Roches Point in Cork harbour have been captured for youtube viewers courtesy of a Cork fishing trip this week. The three harbour dolphins jump clean out of the water in the clip below from about 2:20 on the timeline.  A Lovely marine animal sight on a summers evening! 

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group believes that the whale spotted off Howth and Dublin Bay last week may be the same marine animal spotted at the foot of cliffs on Rathlin Island. The whale is thought to be moving down the Irish Sea, a rare behaviour for a humpback. Pictures of the sighting have allowed the IWDG identify it as a humpback, but they are waiting for higher-resolution images to match it with its counterpart in Howth.

The whale was spotted off Rathlin on July 11, three days before it surfaced near Dublin. The IWDG has said: "This is an extremely important sighting as it is only the second validated sighting of this species in N. Irish waters.

"In fact, as the previous sighting was closer to Colonsay, Islay, Scotland, we could easily argue that this is in fact the 1st record of a humpback whale in N. Irish waters."

Whales can cover more than 50 miles a day and migrate more than 5,000 miles in a year.

More info on the current crop of sightings can be found on the IWDG website, HERE.

Anyone spotting a whale is required by law to give them at least 100 metres room and travel parallel to their track, unless you want to end up like an unlucky pair of South African sailors, dismasted by a breaching Right Whale off Cape Town this week.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Since the first report of the Humpback whale off Howth, north Co Dublin, on Thursday, the first sighting in the area in almost 20 years, several other eyewitness reports are surfacing too. The sitings are among a handful of validated recordings of the species in Irish waters over the past century.
A 10-year-old boy who was taking part in a Howth YC sailing course was afloat when the mammal surfaced on Thursday afternoon. The whale swam between the rescue boat and the young sailor as he waited to be picked up by an instructor.
Earleir this week Skerries Sailing Club spotted the humpback on Wednesday evening when preparing for its evening race.. "The whale was just astern of the committee boat which was anchored, said one official.
"The whale remained in close proximity to the boat for about 20-30 minutes and came to within touching distance of the boat," he added.
The mammal has been photographed within metres of the Cardinal marker off Howth Head, between Ireland's Eye and Howth harbour.
The photographer, Seán Pierce of Shearwater Sea Kayaking told reporters: "It stayed around Cardinal Mark off Howth for over two hours . . . lolling about pushing [its] head into trailing weed and perhaps scratching itself." he told the Irish Times.
The mammal has a preference for shallow coastal waters.

Published in Marine Wildlife

The first inshore Fin Whales of 2010 have been spotted off the Waterford coast, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have reported. The Fin Whale is the second largest animal on the planet, with only the Blue Whale larger. Fin whales can grow to 27 metres in length, and weigh up to 70 metric tonnes and live to nearly 100 years.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group carried out a whale watching session at Ram Head in Ardmore. The description that follows is from the IWDG website, which you can find here.

"With what looked like a brief window of opportunity we arrived yesterday evening 5th July at 19.40 to carry out one of our 100 minute effort watches at Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford. With sea conditions and visibility excellent, it seemed likely that if there was anything out there we’d have a good chance of seeing it.

Within half an hour Ann picked up on a "low puffy" blow about 8 km east-south-east of us. The animal proved to be extremely elusive and it was another 20 minutes before it was seen again as it headed towards the horizon. Yet again it disappeared and as Ann stayed watching the area where this whale was sporadically surfacing, I decided to continue my scan. There in the usual ‘hot spot’ for whale activity, due south of me was our first fin whale of the season. This animal was behaving in a much more reasonable manner. Three or four tall vapour plumes appeared in sequence as the whale steamed towards Capel Island.

So, once again, as in several previous years, Ardmore has also proved to be the place to be to witness the arrival of the first of these welcome visitors to our coastline. Let’s hope they stick around a bit before heading along the coast to Cork!

We never secured an ID on the first whale, but considering that humpback (HBIRL3) also known as ‘Boomerang’ has twice before been seen in the same week in July in the same patch of water (15th July 2002 and 13th July 2008) might he have decided to visit us again this year?

As the weather window appears to have closed again it seems unlikely that we will get a chance to do a watch for a while so I guess we’ll never know!

Andrew Malcolm & Ann Trimble, IWDG 

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Atlantic Dolphins choose to eat high-energy fish to suit their energetic lifestyles, scientists have found.
A study of dolphins off the French coast shows that dolphins shy away from less calorie-dense prey in favour of high-energy food. This dispels a myth that dophins are opportunistic feeders that take any food that comes their way.
The study was carried out by Dr Jerome Spitz and other scientist at the University of La Rochelle in France, who looked at the eating habits of short-beaked common dolphins ( Delphinus delphis ).
This species are the most common type of dolphin in nearby Atlantic waters. The team studied the stomach contents of dolphins caught accidentally in tuna drift nets to see what they ate. They then compared what they found in the dolphins' stomachs with what surveys of trawling fish catches indicated as plentiful in the same waters.
What they found was that dolphins actively select their prey based on its energy density, preferring deep-sea species like lanternfish instead of fish that have lower energy densities.
The dolphins studied turned their noses up at fish with under 5kJ of energy per gram, and sought out rarer breeds of fish that had a higher energy rate.
Two favourites were less common species of  lantern fish, the Kroyer's lanternfish  and the Glacier lanternfish  which have 7.9kJ and 5.9kJ per gram respectively.

Atlantic Dolphins choose to eat high-energy fish to suit their energetic lifestyles, scientists have found.

A study of dolphins off the French coast shows that dolphins shy away from less calorie-dense prey in favour of high-energy food. This dispels a myth that dophins are opportunistic feeders that take any food that comes their way. 


The study was carried out by Dr Jerome Spitz and other scientist at the University of La Rochelle in France, who looked at the eating habits of short-beaked common dolphins.

This species are the most common type of dolphin in nearby Atlantic waters. The team studied the stomach contents of dolphins caught accidentally in tuna drift nets to see what they ate. They then compared what they found in the dolphins' stomachs with what surveys of trawling fish catches indicated as plentiful in the same waters.


What they found was that dolphins actively select their prey based on its energy density, preferring deep-sea species like lanternfish instead of fish that have lower energy densities.
The dolphins studied turned their noses up at fish with under 5kJ of energy per gram, and sought out rarer breeds of fish that had a higher energy rate.


Two favourites were less common species of  lantern fish, the Kroyer's lanternfish  and the Glacier lanternfish  which have 7.9kJ and 5.9kJ per gram respectively. Other less energetic predators, like sharks, are less fussy and take anything that's going.

 

Published in Marine Wildlife

Mr. Sean Connick, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today (June 29th) launched a milestone report on the effects of climate change on Ireland’s marine ecosystems. The document - Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2009 – details a number of significant observations recorded in recent years including: increases in sea surface temperature, increased wave heights off the south west coast and an increase in the number of warm water species in Irish waters, ranging from microscopic plankton to swarms of jellyfish. This report is one of three projects funded as part of the Marine NDP Research Programme (Sea Change) under the Environmental Policy Research Measure.


“It could be argued that one of the greatest challenges our marine food industries - such as fishing and aquaculture - are the effects of marine climate change,” said Minister Connick. “These changes will be primarily driven by the Atlantic Ocean. Research is therefore urgently required to improve our capability to predict marine climate change so that we can preempt and deal with the economic, social, political and environmental consequences that might follow.”

One key finding of the report is that increases of sea surface temperature of 0.6°C per decade have been taking place since 1994, which are unprecedented in the past 150 years. This in turn is linked to an increase in microscopic plants and animals, along with species of jellyfish. Further up the food chain, increased numbers of most warm water fish species have been observed in Irish waters, along with sightings of exotic species such as snake pipefish. Declines in number of seabirds have also been observed which may have a climate link.

“Ireland is strategically placed to play a key role in monitoring ocean-induced changes in our climate and environment,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. “Geographically the warm southern waters of the Atlantic drift come closer to Ireland than any other country in Europe, where they merge with the cooler northern waters off the coasts of Galway and Mayo. It is here that the predicted biological shifts in marine species diversity or abundance are most likely to occur, making Ireland an ideal laboratory for the study of marine climate change.”







In the long term, the Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2009 report predicts that global mean sea level may rise by up to 0.88 m by 2100. This, when combined with the increase in wave heights of 0.8 m that have already been observed off southwest Ireland, could lead to an increased threat of coastal erosion and flooding.

‘We assembled a team who extensively reviewed and analysed our extensive marine databanks on oceanography, plankton and productivity, marine fisheries and migratory species such as salmon, trout and eels with the specific aim of identifying any pattern that might be linked to climate change,” said Dr. Glenn Nolan of the Marine Institute who managed the team. “In some instances these data were painstakingly assembled over a considerable period of time, indeed one of the time series extends back over five decades.”

A second report which reviews the effect of ocean acidification in Irish waters “Ocean Acidification: An Emerging Threat to our Marine Environment - 2010” has also been completed which highlights the growing threat to marine life and fragile ecosystems around the coast as a direct consequence of increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. The report recommends that a nationally coordinated multidisciplinary marine climate change and ecosystem monitoring programme be established that will enable better evaluations to be made of the threats posed to the marine environment and economy by ocean acidification. It emphasises closer links between climate change, ocean acidification and environmental policy development especially in relation to mitigation strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

Sea Change – A Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy for Ireland, identified climate change as a priority area for research over the period 2007 to 2013 and this report represents a significant contribution towards achieving the objectives of the marine research programme. It addresses the need to increase our understanding of the drivers and regulators of climate so as to improve the accuracy of advice to Government while at the same time provide key inputs into the national climate change programme of the EPA. It will also improve the reliability of predictive models, and allow researchers to downscale global climate model predictions to the regional/local scale.  As an island nation, it is important to continue to support investment in marine climate change research. This in turn will strengthen Ireland’s ability to develop knowledge-based scenarios on climate change impacts on the various marine sectors and include these in all future social, economic and environmental strategies.

The complete Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2009 and Report summary are downloadable from:

http://www.marine.ie/NR/rdonlyres/E581708D-6269-4941-836F-6B012DD7A4BD/0/IrishOceanClimateandEcosystemStatusReport2009.pdf

http://www.marine.ie/NR/rdonlyres/7528902D-2467-4F3E-BF21-39D81AEA4D37/0/SummaryIrishOceanClimateandEcosystemStatusReport2009.pdf

The Ocean Acidification Report can be downloaded from:

http://www.marine.ie/home/publicationsdata/publications/Marine+Foresight+Publications.htm

Published in Marine Wildlife
Page 53 of 54
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