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Displaying items by tag: Marine Institute

Applications are currently being accepted for ship time in on Ireland’s national marine science research vessels in 2022 and 2023.

In addition to the RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, placements will also be available on the new RV Tom Crean which is expected to be operational in mid 2022 and will replace the RV Celtic Voyager.

The ROV Holland I as well as the Marine Institute’s Slocum Glider submersibles Laochra na Mara and Aisling na Mara are also offered.

Applications must be submitted using Research Vessel Operations’ online Survey Planning System by Thursday 16 September. Contact Research Vessel Operations at [email protected] to obtain a username and password.

Each application will be reviewed and the applicant will be informed as soon as possible whether the ship time they requested is available. If the requested timing is not available, alternative dates may be offered.

The Vessel Charter Guidelines should be read carefully before submitting the ship-time application form.

Further information, technical specification and contact details for the Slocum Gliders are available on the Glider webpage.

Applicants may seek grant-aid to cover all or part of the vessel charter costs for Research Surveys or Ship-Based Training Programmes in 2022. The closing date for receipt of grant-aid applications is 5pm on Thursday 16 September.

Applicants for ship-based training are advised to consult with the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) at [email protected] SMART aims to standardise and optimise ship-based training for undergraduate and post-graduate students and develop nationally accredited ship-based training activities for national higher education.

Applicants are advised that survey schedules can change during the year; contact Research Vessel Operations at [email protected] to check whether any survey slots remain for 2021 and/or request to be notified if any dates become available.

Published in Marine Science

This month the Marine Institute will launch a funding call for a major programme of marine science research in the area of ‘blue carbon’.

The absorption and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans and coastal regions has been identified as one of the ways in which marine ecosystems can reduce the impacts of climate change.

Funding of up to €1.6m has been earmarked for the call to support a large-scale research project to run from 2021 to 2026.

Launched in June 2020, Ireland’s Programme for Government recognised the “the enormous blue carbon potential that the ocean has to offer in tackling climate change”.

Collaborative research initiative

The Government tasked the Marine Institute — the State agency responsible for marine research and innovation — with a collaborative research initiative, aimed at investigating the climate-change mitigation potential of blue carbon and working towards creating an inventory that will assist the EU in meeting Ireland’s climate-change objectives.

In order to prepare the ground for such a large-scale research programme, the Marine Institute commissioned a synthesis report to review existing knowledge on blue carbon habitats and their role as carbon sinks in Ireland. This report was published in May 2021.

“Blue carbon refers to carbon which is stored, or sequestered, in the ocean and in vegetated habitats around coastal regions,” explains the report’s lead author Dr Grace Cott, assistant professor at the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science.

“In terms of blue carbon which we can actively manage, what we are really referring to is the vegetation in coastal regions, and that means three main habitats: firstly, mangrove forests — which we don’t have in Ireland and are mostly found in tropical regions — secondly, salt-marsh habitats and finally, seagrass meadows.”

From photosynthesis to sediment trapping

Carbon sequestration — the long-term capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere – can take place through a range of natural processes, from photosynthesis to sediment trapping, where carbon-based sediments from the tide are physically trapped by vegetation.

The Marine Institute report points out that Ireland’s tidally influenced coastal wetlands comprise approximately 160 square kilometres of salt-marsh and seagrass beds. Globally, although these habitats represent a much smaller area than terrestrial forests, their total contribution to long-term carbon storage is comparable to carbon sinks in tropical forests.

According to Dr Cott, salt marshes in Ireland are up to 10 times more efficient than agricultural grasslands at storing carbon on a per area basis. This is mainly due to the lack of microbial decomposition in these wet regions, which inland causes the release of carbon from the soil as carbon dioxide.

Supporting blue carbon into the future

The loss and destruction of vegetated coastal ecosystems threatens their ability to function as long-term carbon sinks, and mismanagement can lead to the release of stored carbon back into the atmosphere, says Dr Cott.

“But there is hope in the management of these resources,” she explains. “Even though researchers need to conduct further research into the matter, we are already becoming aware of certain strategies which can help preserve our blue carbon habitats around the Irish coast.”

These include allowing salt mash habitats to migrate inland, and improving water quality to optimise carbon capture in seagrass beds.

“Looking ahead, I believe that Ireland will need an appropriate management framework, led by Government, to enhance protection of these habitats in relation to carbon sequestration,” Dr Cott adds.

Published in Marine Science

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 Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has launched a new book, An Ocean of Stories - An Anthology of Children’s Ocean Stories, leading up to World Oceans Day this Tuesday 8 June.

The book, published by Explorers Education officer Carmel Madigan of the Loophead Summer Hedge School, includes over 50 stories, artworks and poems by children from counties Clare and Limerick who were inspired by ocean experiences — and highlights the major role the ocean has in our everyday lives.

Patricia Orme, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute, congratulated Madigan and the Explorers team on the launch of the book.

“Carmel always puts the children first and this book has helped children find a positive place in a time that has been challenging for many in primary schools over the past year,” she said.

‘Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea’

“While we celebrate World Oceans Day – The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods, this book reminds us of our childhood experiences and our love for and relationship with the sea.

“Reading the stories of children jumping off piers and their stories of the adventures of rock-pooling reminds us of how fortunate we are to live on an island surrounded by the ocean, where we can enjoy amazing beaches and coastline.

“Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea. I am sure many will treasure this wonderful book in years to come.”

Madigan ran the Explorers project with 14 classes over the last school term, to engage teachers and children in the idea of documenting their experiences and memories of the seashore and the ocean.

‘The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking’

With the production of an Explorers Personal Story Writing Guidebook and a series of short videos, as well as video chat sessions, the children were guided through the process of capturing their own stories about the ocean, through a series of creative writing exercises.

“I am delighted that I was able to bring something to the classroom that was fresh and new to the children with this project,” Madigan said. “Working with the teachers, and the Explorers team, we created a positive experience for the children promoting a sense of wellness and well-being.

“The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking. Some are pure fact and some are pure fiction – all were a joy to read! The children should be very proud of their contributions. They are truly beautiful, engaging and thoughtful, making for wonderful insightful reading, whatever your age.”

Over 300 stories were produced by the children, highlighting the importance of including marine themes on the curriculum.

 Some of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of StoriesSome of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of Stories

“The stories and poems produced by the children conjure up many memories of sand in the sandwiches, being tumbled by waves, to having a big ice cream on the way home!” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust and Explorers strategic education manager.

“I am sure that for many who read this book, they will also turn the pages smiling with similar recollections of their own seashore and ocean experiences.

"Carmel has delivered a number of valuable projects with children over the years and her experience as an artist, author and ocean enthusiast is reflected in her work for the Explorers Education Programme. I sincerely hope that this book inspires those that read it.

“As one of the stories written about a sailor's adventure traveling across the seas says: the ocean may separate us physically around the world, but it provides us the opportunity to bring humanity together! Well done to all!”

Published in Book Review

Yesterday, a group of students from 5th and 6th class from Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ to the Marine Institute’s research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, in Galway Harbour. Marine Institute scientists will deploy the mini-boat from the RV Celtic Explorer into the Atlantic Ocean, near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey.

The mini-boat is equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, or transmitter, which allows the students to track it as it sails across the ocean and gain a better understanding of ocean currents. This initiative is part of the international Educational Passages programme which connects schools from across the globe through the mini-boat activity.

Congratulating the collaborative effort of the Explorers Education Programme team, Kilglass National school, the infrastructures team at the Marine Institute, as well as Educational Passages in the USA, Patricia Orme, Joint Acting CEO said, “The Explorers mini-boat project is a wonderful example of marine science literacy and citizen engagement with the oceans. It supports the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning campaign which highlights the value of partnerships essential for sharing marine science with the wider community. For children, this project provides an exciting way of seeing real life examples of how the ocean has an influence on all our lives, learning how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technology used.”

‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ about to be Deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’ about to be Deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer

Peter Kane, teacher at Kilglass National School, Galway highlighted that working with the Explorers Education team and Educational Passages has helped to provide children with a better understanding of the ocean through real life hands-on activities. “The project involved more than 100 children in our school. Students have painted and decorated the boat, created artwork and good luck messages, and named the boat ‘Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor’. Alisha McHugh from 4th class explained that the Irish term recognises the tradition of fishing in Galway and Ireland.”

Thanking the Marine Institute and the Explorers team for coordinating the delivery of the boat and teaching resources, Peter Kane said, “It has been a comprehensive STEM project and cross-curricular in nature. Using the boat as a focal point provides a great example of how teachers can integrate marine themes through a range of cross-curricular activities. This included learning how the boat was built, to covering a range of science and technology concepts using GPS and satellites.”

Padraic Creedon, Explorers Education Officer, Galway Atlantaquaria said, “It was great to see the children increasing their understanding of the ocean, completing science experiments and producing amazing class presentations about our ocean. The children also learned about marine biodiversity in the ocean from the smallest microscopic plankton to the largest animals in the world – the blue whales migrating across the Atlantic.”

The provision of the boat has been funded as part of the EU Interreg iFADO project, in which the Marine Institute are partners. Engaging in the mini-boat project, the iFADO consortium of researchers are launching five mini-boats this year around the Atlantic from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and the UK.

“People all over the world can monitor and track the mini-boats in the ocean, including Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor. The project webpage is available to children, teachers and their classes. This is a really fun way of connecting people, and predicting where the boat may land is part of that experience. At least 11 mini-boats have landed in Ireland since 2009, and some have been recovered, fixed, and relaunched. Currently, there are six actively reporting boats in the Atlantic, and some in the Pacific as well. Both the Explorers Education Programme and Educational Passages are absolutely delighted to see another boat leaving Galway, and look forward to seeing how it can connect more people around our world ocean,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Education Manager, Camden Education Trust.

To follow the mini-boat Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor, visit here

The Marine Institute and partners are celebrating our seas and Ireland’s marine resource through the Oceans of Learning series. Over four weeks, Oceans of Learning enables everyone to engage with our ocean through a podcast series, short films, news and online resources all about our ocean. 

Teachers, children and parents can also follow the Explorers Education activities on Facebook: @ExplorersMarineEducation and Twitter @explorersedu for great ideas and fun facts about the ocean. The team in Galway will also be tracking the Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research and development.

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

The Marine Institute’s joint acting chief executive Michael Gillooly recently spoke to Newsweek as part of its Country Report on Ireland alongside a number of this country’s political and business leaders.

Recognising Ireland’s robust economic performance in the five years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Newsweek report on Ireland focuses on the country’s ambition and ability to navigate the economic challenges as a result of the pandemic in addition to the effects of Brexit.

Gillooly shares his thoughts on the Marine Institute’s efforts to promote research on Ireland’s rich maritime ecosystem and the reasons why our marine science research capabilities are significant on the international stage.

“We have an obvious geographical advantage in the marine sense. This allows us to use the country as a locus for Atlantic research, technology development and innovation,” he says.

“Ireland is described as an ideal place to innovate due to it being small enough to run tests, but large enough to demonstrate a significant impact.”

See Michael Gillooly’s full interview on the Country Reports website, and find the complete Ireland: New Dawn, New Opportunities report on Newsweek.com

Published in Marine Science
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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
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