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Marine Institute

Stepping up high quality measurement capabilities for core biogeochemical Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), including carbon system

The requirement for an enhanced ocean biogeochemistry ECV observing capacity has been well flagged (EPA Climate Status 2020; MI Ocean climate and Ecosystem Status Report; MI ECV report). Observations contribute to development of ocean climate and ocean acidification indicators, global and regional carbon budgets, and underpin computer models as key decision tools for marine management.

Improving offshore in-situ remote sensing and molecular analysis for Climate Change Impacts and Biodiversity monitoring in offshore and inshore coastal areas

Understanding climate change drivers on phytoplankton species distribution and abundance (including HAB species) in the future is crucial in predicting potential effects on the sustainability of shellfish aquaculture producing areas producing healthy and sustainable shellfish. Offshore in-situ remote sensing instruments which display phytoplankton images and identify to species level which are displayed in realtime will be deployed to better understand the impacts of climate change on phytoplankton species diversity and distribution.

Climate Change and Carbon project

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, which is the key driver of ocean acidification. Measurements of carbon in Irish waters have been conducted in recent years with CO2 monitoring using sensors and sample collection aboard the two Irish research vessels and at a fixed station in Co. Galway (Mace Head).

Climate Change and zooplankton project

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.

Climate Change and Ecosystem Modelling

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.

Development of Methodologies for Assessment of Ireland’s Seaweed Resource

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 was 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.

National Sediment Sampling and Seabed Imagery Catalogue

The aim of this project is to develop an integrated national sediment sampling and seabed imagery catalogue. It will provide a ‘signpost’ to the multiple sources of seabed data. The integration of this information will be vital to support the National marine planning process, in terms of habitat mapping, climate change assessment, resource assessment (e.g. aggregates) and invasive species incidence.

Ecosystem data collection on Irish fisheries surveys in support of MSFD, Natura and Habitat mapping Phase 2

As part of the data collection framework, the Marine Institute conducts ten annual fisheries research surveys at sea to provide fisheries independent data for stock assessment. These surveys can be used as platforms of opportunities for the collection of additional ecosystem data to support the reporting requirements for environmental legislation including MSFD, Natura and MSP.