The aim of this project is to ensure the availability of spatial marine benthic biodiversity data for the purposes of marine planning and decision-making. It will also support delivery of the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and National Marine Planning Framework by:
Centralising access to benthic biodiversity datasets across the MI;
Further enabling the Marine Institute to capitalise on its data resources when carrying out its role as advisor to government departments;
Carbon is an integral component of marine ecosystems and key living resources in the ocean are profoundly affected by changes in the uptake of CO2 by the ocean. Measurements of carbon in Irish waters have been conducted in recent years with data collection aboard the two Irish research vessels and at a fixed station in Co. Galway (Mace Head). Despite this recent activity, no systematic assessment of trends in Ocean acidification and carbon in Irish waters has taken place to date.
This project aims to develop a climate and ecosystem modelling capability to underpin decisions at national level in climate adaptation, initially for the seafood sector with potential applicability in other sectors e.g. biodiversity, flooding, built heritage. By assessing and piloting 3 promising ocean biogeochemistry models in the Celtic Sea, simulations of changes in ocean physics, biology and chemistry over a 30 - 50 year timescale will be generated to inform the policy response and adaptation to climate change.
Systematic collection of zooplankton in Irish waters is not implemented despite such plankton being a key food source for commercial fish stocks. Ireland is reliant on ad-hoc zooplankton studies that have taken place in academic institutes and on data collection through the continuous plankton recorder which bypasses large areas of Irish waters. This project aims to devise a strategy to augment and systematically collect zooplankton in our waters to elucidate trends and constrain ecosystem models that will provide support to policies related to climate adaptation in the seafood sector.
Programmes such as MSP, MSFD and DCF require access to trusted and well-managed data from a wide variety of sources. The ability to access and re-use these data requires appropriate quality-assured processes and storage systems. This project will extend the Marine Institute’s Data Management Quality Management Framework to additional data processes underpinning marine environmental reporting and management, ensuring that these processes are quality assured via an internationally accredited framework.
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are recognized in numerous regulations as a key cause of the loss of native species and the reduction of biodiversity (e.g. EC 708/2007; S.I. 477 of 2011).
This proposes to conduct intense sediment sampling and environmental data collection surveys on areas of interest in coastal waters to develop high resolution sediment and habitat maps. Knowledge of offshore and coastal seabed sediment characteristics enable marine spatial planning decisions and contribute to fisheries resource management, aquaculture site selection, habitat mapping, conservation objectives and reporting under various environmental legislation including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
The capture of spatial data relating to bird use in inshore and offshore environments and interpreting these data as it relates to various anthropogenic activities is important in implementing management actions. Specifically, the capture of data and subsequent analysis will aid in understanding the interactions between bird species of special conservation interest (SCI) in Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and aquaculture and fisheries activities. This is an important requirement to the management and mitigation of these industries in Natura sites and more widely.
A very extensive data set exists in the Sea and Inland Fisheries Reports from the 1870s to 1987. In addition, data for the period 1900 to 1920 are available in the Fisheries Ireland Scientific Investigations series. These datasets could act as essential baseline information on the state of the Irish marine environment in the pre- or early exploitation era.
The National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory in Ireland (NMBLI) at the Marine Institute (Oranmore), aims to strengthen Ireland’s capacity as research leaders in marine biotechnology. This facility aims to develop economic growth and job creation through innovative knowledge-generating activities and collection of baseline data to support sustainable economic growth and job creation through the development of new products and services.
Ireland has obligations under the EU’ Marine Strategy Framework Directive to deliver food web indicators under Descriptor 4. Specifically certain elements must be met for at least 3 trophic guilds. This project will allow for collection and analysis of data to support the implementation of the MSFD Improved data provision to assess the impact of fisheries on biodiversity.
Programmes such as MSP, MSFD and DCF require access to data from a wide range of sources. Access to these data requires appropriate Data Governance to ensure compliance with licensing terms and legislation such as GDPR. Without an adequate level of Data Governance these is a risk that access will be limited with a default low/no-risk approach leading to low-availability.
A range of EMFF-related MSP, Blue Growth and Biodiversity programmes require the availability of high quality marine data from a range of marine disciplines. An initial data quality management toolset has been developed to support the availability of quality assured data for MSP, MSFD, DCF, aquaculture and food safety services, licensing support or other relevant DAFM programmes.
Currently the availability of data required for programmes such as MSP and MSFD is limited, in part due to technical differences or limitations across organisational boundaries. The deployment of consistent data services interfaces will greatly facilitate access and integration of data held by different groups both within and external to the Marine Institute.
The aim of this project is to develop surveillance methods to facilitate the mapping of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) distribution in Irish marine habitats. Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) are researching IAS detection methods in Irish nearshore waters and benthic habitats. They have completed a review of known marine IAS in Ireland and identified IAS that could invade Irish marine habitats through vulnerable invasion pathways and other mechanisms (e.g.
Through the on-going marine planning process, the Irish Government identified that the sustainability of seaweed natural resources underpins the licensing regime for seaweed harvesting. The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding of the Irish seaweed resource around the Irish coastline, which will contribute to a biomass assessment for certain types of seaweed.
Ascophyllum Nodosum is the primary species harvested. It grows on rocky surfaces near the seashore and is harvested by hand at low tide. Small amounts of other species are also harvested.
The assessment of ecological risk associated with marine industry activity and development is a key issue in providing advice to licensing authorities and planners in the marine environment. The project would take existing quantitative frameworks for risk assessment and add functions to incorporate effects of applying and withdrawing pressures over short time steps and to enable modelling of population responses to these pressure schedules. Developing these methods will allow us to incorporate them into decision support tools to allow for a more robust comparison between temporally and spatially explicit management measures.
The Biologically Sensitive Area (BSA) is situated off the west and south coasts of Ireland and is considered to encompass an area of high biological sensitivity. It contains important spawning and nursery grounds for exploited north east Atlantic fish species. This project will produce a report which details the biological basis for the BSA and the effectiveness of the designation as an instrument to afford protection to the area.
This project will establish a fish species list, including the marine and diadromous species, study their diet and establish the relative energy inputs (Carbon and Nitrogen) from both freshwater and marine sources. The project will provide baseline information on a vulnerable habitat (coastal lagoon) classified as an Annex I priority habitat (“in danger of disappearance”) under the EU Habitats Directive (EU, 1992). Also relevant to Descriptor 1 in the MFSD, setting a baseline for species and habitats identified under national and international legislation, such as the Clew Bay Complex SAC.
While currently there are valuable data assets residing across multiple Marine Institute teams and partner organisations, our ability to leverage these data to provide information which is current, reproducible, and readily available across multiple locations is limited.
Converting these data into usable information to meet new programme requirements requires improved access to data analysis and visualisation tools, services and techniques.