Exploiting and conserving deep-sea genetic resources

Pleased to invite you to a seminar by Prof. Louise Allcock, Professor of Zoology at National University of Ireland Galway. Louise Allcock became interested in the deep sea through work on deep-water octopods, and has applied her knowledge of molecular systematics to the challenge of identifying poorly-known deep-water fauna to facilitate a range of interdisciplinary deep-sea research.

Ireland’s deep-sea territory is very extensive, and encompasses a range of habitats including carbonate mounds, and submarine canyons.  The marine animal forest – the corals and sponges – are highly diverse, and vulnerable particularly to fishing.  Over the last few years we have carried out multiple expeditions in Irish deep-sea waters, collecting video footage and biological samples with an ROV.  As well as contributing to systematics studies on corals (particularly sea pens, bamboo corals and black corals), we have investigated the pharmaceutical potential of a selection of coral and sponge species by screening extracts through a range of bioassays, and we have elucidated a range of bioactive new compounds.   We have attempted to model the likelihood of any given coral species producing a bioactive compound based on prior knowledge of bioactivity in various coral taxa.  We are in the process of combining this with species distribution modelling for multiple coral species to generate maps of potential bioactivity hotspots that we can use to promote conservation of these important genetic resources.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday 28th September at 1300 BST and will not be recorded, so please join us by registering for occasional updates below:

Baseline characterization of species assemblages in Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area – Placentia Bay

Today Shreya Nemani and Julia Mackin-McLaughlin, MSc students at the 4DOceans Lab of Memorial University, gave an intriguing and thought-provoking seminar about their coastal benthic habitat mapping work in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada as part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. Their work at the 4DOceans lab of the Marine Institute aims to advance understanding of seafloor heterogeneity and assess the spatial and temporal variation in species distribution. They study the spatial distribution of seabed habitats in Placentia Bay. In addition to studying the composition of faunal assemblages, Shreya is also studying their functional composition and diversity of the bay. Concurrent with this research, Julia has modelled the ecological niche of two habitat-forming algal species which support various ecosystem services for the west coast of the bay. We would like to cordially thank both Shreya and Julia for a fascinating talk.

Baseline Characterization of Species Assemblages

Pleased to announce that on Tuesday 31st August at 1300 BST/0930 NDT by Shreya Nemani and Julia Mackin-McLaughlin will be giving the August seminar on “Baseline Characterization of Species Assemblages in An Ecologically and Biologically Sensitive Area (EBSA): Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.” Julia and Shreya are MSc students from the 4D Oceans Lab at Memorial University’s Marine Institute, Canada. They study the spatial distribution of seabed habitats in Placentia Bay as part of Canada’s Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. In addition to studying the composition of faunal assemblages, Shreya is also studying their functional composition and diversity of the bay. Concurrent with this research, Julia has modelled the ecological niche of two habitat-forming algal species which support various ecosystem services for the west coast of the bay. Please register below:

Cometh seaweeds, Cometh structure

Phycologist and marine ecologist, post-doctoral researcher Dr Kathryn Schoenrock-Rossiter, of the National University of Ireland Galway, gave an informative webinar entitled “Cometh seaweeds, cometh structure in marine habitats.” The webinar presented Kate’s comparative research on maerl/rhodolith beds and kelp forests in Greenland and in the west of Ireland. Exploring the fjords of south western Greenland, Kate and her multidisciplinary team dived and surveyed the maerl/rhodolith and kelp beds in the region to understand the diversity and differences between these two contrasting marine habitats. Her research in both Greenland and Ireland’s Atlantic region explores how associated communities change as a result of climate change. Her work in Ireland highlighted the importance of citizen science initiatives to create a baseline for marine monitoring in kelp forest communities and her experiences have expanded the scientific diving community in western Ireland, as vital baseline research to build on in future. The webinar can be found below and we would like to thank Kate for joining us from California and sharing her insights on all things seaweed!

World Ocean Day Seminar on cold water corals

This Tuesday June 8th at 1300 BST for World Ocean Day, Dr Aaron Lim of Green Rebel Marine will be giving a seminar on “Mapping and monitoring cold water coral habitats offshore Ireland. The talk will introduce cold water corals habitats, how we map and image them, how we monitor them and some recent findings from offshore Ireland. We have wanted to organise an event about cold water corals for a while on this blog so this is particularly exciting for this year’s World Ocean Day! Don’t miss it- register below for occasional updates and zoom link.

Tales from a small aquarium

Today our seminar series recommenced with a seminar by Dr Noirin Burke of the Galway Atlantaquaria in Galway, Republic of Ireland. Noirin emphasized the importance of a small aquarium with a BIG impact- taking part in collaboration with numerous organisations- from doing beach cleans to wellbeing and yoga events to outreach events with Marmo the octopus! Animal rehabilitation and educational role of the aquarium are all important in helping improve the ocean literacy. With different programmes such as the Inishbofin Summer School and “The real map of Ireland” about ocean exploration. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the state of our environment, but through collaboration with schools, the mission to create an ocean literate society in Ireland can be achieved. Noirin went on to talk about ocean literacy and the 7 principles of ocean literacy. A big thank you to Noirin for sharing her experiences and enthusiasm for all things marine and the importance of ocean literacy for society today as well as in the future.

Ocean literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.

-Noirin Burke

Resources

European Marine Science Educators Association EMSEA

Explorers.ie

Irish Ocean Literacy Network

UNESCO Ocean Literacy

UNESCO Training on Ocean Literacy