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Displaying items by tag: RV Celtic Explorer

#deepsea – An international research team, led by scientists from NUI Galway, is currently exploring the Whittard Canyon deep-sea submarine canyon system in the North East Atlantic onboard the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer.

Researchers from Ireland, the UK, the USA and Germany are using the Institute's ROV Holland I to study the diversity of deep-water animals and relate this to geology and ocean currents.

The Whittard Canyon system is at the continental margin approximately 250 miles SW of Cork, covers an area of 2000 square miles, and is home to vulnerable marine ecosystems of cold-water corals, deep-water oysters and file clams. But new research is also revealing a remarkable diversity and abundance of rare black corals, which are protected under international legislation.

"The extreme shape of submarine canyons seems to affect the water flow within them in such a way as to deliver nutrient rich waters to particular parts of the canyon system. This allows diverse ecosystems to flourish. Our research is attempting to understand these processes so that we can predict where the most vulnerable ecosystems are likely to occur and therefore ensure the environment is protected," explained Dr Martin White of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute, and the expedition's chief scientist.

According to Dr Louise Allcock, also of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute, "Black corals are particularly vulnerable to any sort of impact. They grow extremely slowly and dating studies have shown that some species live for thousands of years."

The Whittard Canyon system is huge, with meandering branches extending over an area of more than 80 by 20 miles. Mapping the system, much of which is in depths below 1500m, to detect vulnerable species is difficult. Therefore the team hopes that the new data will reveal the factors that determine which species occur where.

ROV Holland I provides a way of sampling deep-sea animals without impacting the ecosystem. The team is also providing deep-sea sponge samples to scientists searching for novel pharmaceutical compounds. If the chemists find interesting compounds such as antibacterial and other pharmaceutical properties in the sponges, they will aim to work out how to synthesize them in the laboratory. This is the first step in the production of new drugs.

The scientists are blogging about their experiences and discoveries aboard RV Celtic Explorer throughout the survey (June 6th – 21st) on the blog scientistsatsea.blogspot.ie and on twitter via the hashtag #ce14009

The research survey is carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme by the Irish Government.

Published in Marine Science

#marinescience – The RV Celtic Explorer leaves Galway today (12th April) for Newfoundland and Labrador, on its fourth multi-institution transatlantic survey. The 13 day expedition across the Atlantic to St Johns, Newfoundland will involve four scientists from NUI Galway, as well students from UCC and GMIT. A team of six of scientists lead by Dr. George Rose from the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University, Newfoundland, will work alongside nine Irish scientists during the voyage.

The collaboration with Newfoundland and Labrador builds on the strong relationship established since the first Newfoundland survey on the Celtic Explorer in 2011.

"Such cooperation is key to improving our ocean wealth and promoting the sustainable management of its resources. It's hugely important for Ireland and brings us closer to achieving the goals of the 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' signed here at the Marine Institute Galway last May by the EU, USA and Canada ", said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute.

Irish scientists onboard will study the rich and diverse pelagic ecosystem across the Atlantic Ocean. "Marine scientists from NUI Galway will study the oceanography and the deep scattering acoustic layers of the water columns using multi-frequency acoustics. This is then related to zooplankton abundance and ultimately to fish abundance, providing us with a better understanding of the ecosystem," explained Dr. Louise Allcock from NUI Galway.

Scientists from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology will study plastics found in the ocean. Micro-plastic debris is made up of tiny plastic granules, fibres and fragments less than 5mm in diameter. Although plastics are beneficial materials, micro-plastics appear to be pervasive in the ocean and scientists do not yet fully understand the impact that small plastic particles can have on the food chain. Ingesting the tiny particles may be toxic to the animals, and may prevent them from consuming their natural prey.

"We hope this research will help to raise awareness of the effects of plastics in the ocean and provide better ecosystem assessments across the Atlantic," said Ms Amy Lusher from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology who is completing a PhD on this topic.

Seabird and marine mammal observations will also be conducted by Aoife Foley from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and Ashley Benison from University College Cork. These animals are considered top predators in the pelagic environment and the abundance of fish and zooplankton, their prey, ultimately affects their distribution and survival.

The Newfoundland team of scientists will continue their strong collaboration with the Irish scientists. "This collaboration is now into its 4th year with a major paper based on linking acoustic, biological and oceanographic data from 2011-2013 presented at the recent international Marine Science Conference in Hawaii," explained Dr Rose.

Sharing information and experiences with scientists from both sides of the Atlantic allows Irish researchers to forge strong links with our Newfoundland and Labrador – Canadian counterparts.

"Being the western and eastern bookends of the North Atlantic, and given our shared history, it seems only right that Newfoundland and Ireland scientists should work together on problems of mutual interest, and this has indeed proven to be very enjoyable and highly productive" Dr. Rose further stated.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute has announced an additional call for funded ship time on the RV Celtic Explorer and the RV Celtic Voyager.

Applications are invited from research performing organisations including higher education institutions, public research bodies and industry to carry out ship-based research activity.

The areas of research may relate to: ecosystems approach to marine resource management; seabed processes and resources; climate/environmental change; renewable ocean energy; biodiscovery/biodiversity; novel marine technologies; and marine policy/legislati

Applications from early stage researchers, including PhD students or early post-doctoral researchers, are particularly encouraged to apply, to allow emerging marine scientists the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in undertaking ship-based research.

Applications will only be accepted for a limited number of days - one week in September 2014 on the RV Celtic Explorer, and up to three weeks with available dates in July, September, October and December 2014 on the RV Celtic Voyager.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 3pm on Thursday 17 April 2014. Applications must be submitted using the Research Vessel Operations' online Survey Planning System (SPS) and Research Information Management System (RIMS), which are available on www.marine.ie. (Please contact the Research Vessel Operations team at [email protected] to obtain a password for SPS.)

The Vessel Charter Guidelines 2014-1015 (Word doc 253KB) should be read carefully before submitting the Ship-Time Application Form.

Applicants may seek grant-aid to cover all or part of the vessel charter costs for research surveys. For information on eligibility for grant-aid and how to apply, read National Research Vessels 2014 Ship-Time Programme Grant Aid Guidelines (PDF 577KB).

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute invites fifth and sixth class primary school pupils to take part in Exploring the XTRA-Ordinary, a new writing competition where the winner and their class will be invited to visit Ireland’s national maritime research vessel Celtic Explorer in Galway in early December.

Students are asked to get creative and write a poem about the XTRA-Ordinary exploration on the RV Celtic Explorer and demonstrate their understanding of Ireland’s marine life and ocean.   

The winner and their class will be given a tour on board the RV Celtic Explorer and get to meet the crew and scientists that work on board, as well as see the Remotely Operated Vehicle Holland 1.   

Students will also get the opportunity to visit the Dry Lab, where scientists collect data from the ocean that is used to produce maps of Ireland’s seabed, and the Wet Lab where scientists collect marine samples and research marine species that live in the ocean.

A short-list of the entries will be displayed and winners will be announced at the 2013 Galway Science and Technology Festival that takes place at NUI Galway on 24 November from 10am to 6pm.

Entries must be sent to Cushla Dromgool-Regan, The RV Celtic Explorer’s  XTRA-Ordinary Writing Competition, Communications Office, The Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co Galway. The closing date for entries is Thursday 21 November 2013.

For more information about the competition see HERE. And teachers can find lesson plans about poetry, images and footage of marine species and habitats and the activities of the RV Celtic Explorer on the Marine Institute website HERE.

In other schools news, Ayr Hill National School in Ramelton, Co Donegal took the top honour in the 'Something Fishy' education programme for 2013.

Students and staff from the school visited the Donegal Education Centre on Friday 25 October to receive their national award – won in the last two years by schools in Co Wexford - for their class project on the River Leannan and the threat posed to it by invasive species.

At the award ceremony, Ayr Hill principal Hilary McNutt was presented with the perpetual trophy by Inland Fisheries Ireland chief Dr Ciaran Byrne and a class trophy from the IFI board chair Brendan O’Mahony. 

Donegal GAA player Mark McHugh was also on hand to add his congratulations and present each student with an individual ‘goodie bag’. 

McNutt praised the work of her pupils, the Education Centre and IFI staff Owen Kelly and Paul Burke, whose interest and passion for their work enthused and engaged the children with the project.

The River Leannan project involved preparatory class work and the pupils visiting eight sites along the river from source to sea taking physical readings as well as looking at land use, flora and fauna and in particular watching out for ‘alien species'.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The RV Celtic Explorer is nearly a week into its Celtic Sea Herring Survey for 2013 with a wide variety of marine wildlife sightings already on record.

Some 15 scientists comprise the crew of the research vessel for the 3,200-nautical-mile voyage, including eight members of the core acoustic and biological team, plus four seabird observers, one marine mammal observer, one observer from the fishing industry and a PhD student in environmental microplastics.

The boat's first day at sea saw the crew treated to the sight of more than 50 common dolphins around the Blasket Islands and Dingle Bay, which also boasts an important concentration of seabird species such as sooty shearwaters, guillemots and storm petrels.

The latter, also known as 'stormies', are one of the hardiest bird species, especially for their tiny size - many living for up to 30 years despite the challenging conditions the face far out to sea on their migratory path to south-west Africa.

But herring stocks are the focus of this survey, and where there's herring there are whales - with multiple fin whales and at least one humpback whale spotted south of Union Hall last Thursday 10 October.

For more updates from the Celtic Explorer crew follow their [email protected] blog HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineSCIENCE- Postgraduate students from the International SmartOcean Graduate Enterprise Initiative (ISGEI) recently had the experience of a two-day practical offshore course in advanced marine technologies onboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Voyager.

The course focussed on Sensors, Moorings and other autonomous marine monitoring systems and examined biological, chemical, acoustic and visual sensing, biofouling of sensors, communications and telemetry and sensor calibration.

This innovative pilot training course was developed and delivered by Dublin City University and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) based in Galway-Mayo institute of Technology, in association with NUI Galway and Smart Bay Ireland and with ship-time provided by the Marine Institute.

According to Prof. Fiona Regan of DCU "Practical offshore courses enhance the skills base of the International Smart Ocean Graduates. We need to build capacity in this area and the SMART programme offers fantastic training opportunities for our researchers."

The practical considerations when deploying a sensor platform was also explored, in particular site assessment, determination of local hydrographic conditions, deployment
and recovery of mornings and in situ maintenance.

Other elements essential to working in an offshore environment were examined including navigation, safety at sea, and the risk assessment of operations at sea.

James Kelly of Tyndall National Institute is an ISGEI student and took part in the training: "The most valuable part of the training for me would be related to the sensor work and the information on biofouling, and as I am an electrical engineer, that is what I had hoped to get from the training".

SMART Coordinator Dr Pauhla McGrane stressed the collaborative effort involved in the development and delivery of the course stating "The ISGEI Sensors and Moorings course shows what can be achieved through effective collaboration of research and industry with the pooling of expertise and infrastructure to deliver innovative, novel training essential to the career development of emerging marine scientists and technicians".

The training was carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013.

Published in Marine Science

#IrishSeaSurvey – The Marine Institute's Galway based RV Celtic Explorer made a brief call yesterday to Dublin Port, while in between carrying out separate scientific surveys, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 65m vessel, which is not a regular visitor to the port, had berthed at Ocean Pier. According to the Marine Institute's vessel survey schedule, she was conducting a Methane-derived Authigenic Carbonate (MDAC) survey headed by chief scientist Dr. Yvonne Leahy of the institute.

The survey was to complete a drop camera survey of a MDAC site in the Irish Sea, some 25 nautical miles offshore of Dublin Bay.

Celtic Explorer which is 2,425 tonnes and has a total of 35 personnel, and equally the same number of days in endurance range. Accommodation is for 22-30 scientists, 13-15 crew (dependent to operational requirements). Scientific quarters are for 4 single cabins and 9 double en-suite cabins.

Her inshore fleetmate, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager of 340 tonnes has an endurance capability of 14 days. A total of 15 personel made up of 8 scientists and 7 crew are accommodated in 4-berth quarters.

 

Published in Marine Science

#SCIENCE SHIPS – It is a rare to have both Marine Institute research vessels calling at the same time to east-coast ports, as normally these Galway-based ships managed by P&O Maritime Services, work off the rest of the Irish coast, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Aflaot.ie, the RV Celtic Explorer docked in Dublin Port earlier this week. The 65.5m long vessel currently remains moored alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth 6) as the 10-day Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) concludes tomorrow in the Convention Centre. High-level delegates from the international scientific community have made the short crossing over the Liffey's Samuel Beckett Bridge to be welcomed on board.

Across Dublin Bay the RV Celtic Voyager had called to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, where she stayed overnight for a mid-scientific cruise break, while berthed at St. Michaels Wharf. The 31.4m vessel this morning resumed her scheduled Infomar 2 hydrographic work in the Irish Sea.

Published in Marine Science

#ESOF IN DUBLIN - The Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) is to take place in the Convention Centre in Dublin from tomorrow until next Sunday. As part of the key conference, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer which docked in the centre of the port today, is expected to relocate berths later in the week for visiting high-level delegates, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The forum is billed as Europe's largest general science conference and the capital was chosen to host the Dublin 'City of Science 2012' festival which is year-long celebration of science. The prestigious international event features over 160 events that will showcase the best of Irish culture, arts and science.

Added to this is a 'Science in the City' festival (6-15th July) which is currently well-under way, for further information visit www.dublinscience2012.ie

Published in Marine Science

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the Marine Institute's research vessel RV Celtic Explorer in Dublin Port today, where he announced the creation of 92 jobs in the marine sector, writes Jehan Ashmore.

"Ireland is now recognised as an emerging power in Marine Research and Innovation," said the Taoiseach. Of the new positions, 64 will be generated in the seafood processing sector. This follows a €3.5m Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). In the area of marine research, 28 jobs have been created through funding of €2m from an International SmartOcean Graduate Programme.

SmartOcean is a collaboration between IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology), the Marine Institute, five Irish universities and key multinationals and SME Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies to provide funding for 28 research posts.

The Taoiseach said: "This has been achieved through the mapping of the 90% of Irish national territory that lies under the Atlantic, the creation of a quarter of a billion Euros worth of marine research infrastructure, and the fostering of strong linkages between industry and research centres, all of which will support employment opportunities in key areas of potential growth in the marine sector."

During the tour of the RV Celtic Explorer, the Taoiseach who was accompanied by Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Simon Coveney, welcomed the expansion of Ireland's capabilities in the international shipping services sector, which is expected to attract additional jobs to the country.

Ireland's emerging international shipping services sector has continued to grow, underpinned by a number of investments in new and second hand ships over the last twelve months by such companies as Arklow Shipping and the Mainport Group, as well as foreign direct investments by D'Amico and Ardmore shipping.

As reported on Afloat.ie, RV Celtic Explorer had arrived yesterday into Dublin Port, having completed a fisheries demersal survey which started in Galway on 23 September. Initially she had docked at Ocean Pier but she subsequently shifted berths to Sir John Rogersons Quay for today's reception of An Taoiseach. According to her survey schedule she is due to depart tomorrow on a herring acoustic survey which is to take place in the Celtic Sea and off the south-west coast.

Published in Marine Science
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