European Marine Biology Symposium 2013

The 48th Annual European Marine Biology Symposium 2013 starts today in Galway, being hosted by the National University of Ireland, Galway. The overarching theme of EMBS 48 is Biodiversity in a Changing Ocean. Research is proceeding actively on many fronts as we attempt to sustainably manage human activities in the ocean against a backdrop of climate change and ocean acidification. Here are some photos from the first day.

Delegates of the European Marine Biology Symposium, 2013
Poster session in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway
Key note speaker Prof. Jason Hall-Spencer's talk about ocean acidification and biodiversity.
Key note speaker Prof. Jason Hall-Spencer’s talk about ocean acidification and biodiversity.
Mark Costello
Keynote speaker Prof. Mark Costello’s talk asked the question “Can we discover Earth’s species before they go extinct?”
The number of marine vs. terrestrial species discovered per year over time. Since the latter half of the twentieth century, there has been a recent increase in the number of marine species discovered, with increasing number of marine science expeditions and research.
Peter Croot
Prof Peter Croot, NUIG gave a talk about the change in distribution of picoplankton and the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone in the Eastern Tropical South Pacific.

More information about the conference can be found at this link and on the EMBS 2013 Facebook page.

Video Poster Trailers

This year, in addition to oral presentations and posters, some participants are preparing video presentations of their poster, in advance of the conference, which can be viewed on the web. Here are some of them highlighting the diverse range of research at this year’s conference. A wonderful medium for communicating scientific research!

Poster and video by M Bolgan- Does the Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) rely on sound to communicate?

Poster and video by M. Milanese, on behalf of the SPECIAL Consortium – SPECIAL- Sponge Cells and Enzymes for Innovative AppLications

Poster and video by N Artemis – Benthic Diversity in Messolonghi Lagoon, Greece

The Blaschka models


A special collection housed in the National University of Ireland, Galway Marine Biology and Zoology museum consists of over 100 ‘Blaschka models’. The father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka produced beautiful, intricate glass representations of marine animals, originally developed as educational models. They are now considered to be works of art, with a value that makes them irreplaceable.

The models were acquired in the late 1800s by Professor R.J. Anderson. They consist of beautiful representations of marine life including delicate sea anemones and radiolarians, intricate nudibranchs and many complex models of dissected animals such as that of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis.


The Blaschkas came from a family of glass craftsmen that originated in 15th century Venice. Initially, the Blaschka family made a living from manufacturing jewellery, scientific apparatus and glass eyes. However, when Leopold moved to Dresden, Germany in 1863, he was brought into contact with the director of the local natural history museum, where his plant models were exhibited. Thus he began a sideline producing natural history models, and was eventually joined by his son Rudolph. In total, the Blaschkas produced intricate glass models for a period spanning over 70 years in the late 19 th and early 20 th century.


The Blaschkas are best known for the collection of glass flowers that they produced for Harvard University, a collection that included approximately 850 life-size plants and 3,000 enlarged flowers. In recent years, however, the Blaschka’s earlier work, glass models of marine life, has attracted more attention. These models were originally based on zoological illustrations of the time, which led to some mistakes in accurate reproduction of specimens. Learning from this, they later based their models on preserved animals, and finally, live animals housed in an aquarium in the Blaschkas’ studio. Reproducing such intricate patterns in glass required a high level of technical skill, and the Blaschkas have been recognised as gifted craftsmen. The scientific accuracy of the models, combined with the beauty of the coloured glass, makes the models very valuable to natural history museums.

via Welcome to the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum.