18th December

Potential antimicrobial cold-water corals and sponges discovered off Ireland’s continental shelf

Marine scientists Dr Louise Allcock and Prof Oliver Thomas (NUI Galway), and a team of 10 university researchers and students, are researching cold water corals and sponges for potential antimicrobial (anti- cancer) properties.

On board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer two-hundred miles southwest of Ireland at the edge of the continental shelf, data is being gathered by the Institute’s remotely operated vessel, ROV Holland 1, at depths of 300m to 3,000m.

NUIG Coral 2017

Deep-sea research of corals and sponges off the Irish Continental Shelf being carried out by NUI Galway Scientists on board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer. Photo: Louise Allcock

 "The researchers and students are seeing for the first time corals and sponges covering an area around the Whittard Canyon, Porcupine Seabight, Gollum Channel and the Belgica Mounds in Irish waters, remarked Dr Oliver Thomas.

Read more: Potential antimicrobial cold-water corals and sponges discovered off Ireland’s continental shelf

Mapping the ocean floor by 2030

The Forum for Future Ocean Floor Mapping (June 2016) involving over 150 international senior representatives, scientists, scholars and business associates from ocean-related organisations, endorsed the objective of Seafood 2030 to map the entire ocean floor. More than 85 per cent of the world's ocean floor remains unmapped.

IrelandsOcean5

Read more: Mapping the ocean floor by 2030

Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2021

A public consultation until November 22, 2016, is seeking feedback on a new plan that sets out Ireland’s Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2016-2021.

Mi Ocean and sunbeams

The draft strategy, prepared by the Marine Institute, outlines marine-related funding requirements across societal challenges, such as transport, food, energy and biodiversity. A review of marine research performance is reflected, along with policy sectoral drivers, to provide a guide for government and funding agencies of the gap in marine research as outlined in the national strategy, Innovation 2020.

Dr Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute chief executive, said the strategy aims to raise capacity across identified themes and to ensure funding is targeted to match requirements highlighted in State policies and sectoral plans.

“There is a high degree of coordination in the State’s approach to research funding as we have seen through the national research prioritisation exercise and Innovation 2020. We hope the Marine R&I Strategy will contribute to that coordinated approach, by providing important insights to funding agencies as how best to target their resources in the cross cutting area of marine research.”

The publication consultation seeks to collect views and opinions on the strategy, scope, objectives and expected impacts, and aims to build on progress made during the previous strategy, Sea Change 2007-2013.

Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2021

Sea Power progresses to quarter-scale wave energy testing

Irish company, Sea Power, is preparing to test its prototype 16.8m x 4.5m wave energy device at the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test site, following successful small-scale trials.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Marine Institute are collaborating to develop Ireland’s ocean energy testing infrastructure at the Lir National Ocean Test Facility in Cork; the quarter-scale test site in Galway Bay and the Atlantic Marine Energy full-scale test sight off the Mayo coast.

Sea Power Wave Energy

CEO Jim Gannon said it was encouraging to see Irish technologies progress to this stage where ocean energy was creating “huge potential” in job creation and energy security in this emerging sector for Ireland.

Read more: Sea Power progresses to quarter-scale wave energy testing

Our Ocean Wealth conference 2016

The third annual conference under the banner, 'Our Ocean Wealth' (Galway, July 1), is targeting international and national industry leaders, policy-makers, researchers and maritime entrepreneurs, to debate the latest in marine innovation, spatial planning, ocean ecosystems and sustainability.

OOW 2016

Gerald Fleming, Met Eireann and Eleanor O'Rourke, Marine Institute, check out an AR sandbox used to explain how we map the seabed

'Into the Blue - Innovating for our Marine Future' will be addressed by Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, head of the Irish Defence Forces; Sigi Grugber, the European Commission DG Research Head of Marine Resources; Gerald Fleming, Met Éireann; Craig McLean, US National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration and Linda Rosborough of Marine Scotland.

Read more: Our Ocean Wealth conference 2016

Irish divers lodge complaint in Brussels

The Irish Underwater Council has questioned the legality of planned dumping this summer of 400,000m3 of dredge spoil from Dublin Port into an area of Dublin Bay given Special Area of Conservation status after the permit was granted.

Dublin Bay Ocean Divers

Coral Garden. The richness and diversity of marine life less than 15km from the centre of Dublin Photo Willie Siddall

The area – from Rockabill to Dalkey Island ― was designated an SAC under the EU Habitats Directive in December 2012, as being ‘suitable aquatic habitat’ for harbour porpoise, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Read more: Irish divers lodge complaint in Brussels

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