Skip to main content


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.

Bluefin tuna in Irish coastal waters

This project aims to set up a monitoring programme to increase our knowledge of bluefin tuna migrations with special reference to their residency in Irish coastal waters and specific use of these habitats, reasons for their presence after more than a decade of near absence up to 2015 and establish whether they are likely to remain as persistent migrants in coming years. This project will contribute to the National reporting obligations for management of large pelagic fish species in Irish waters and to assess MSFD and OSPAR indicators for exploited deep-water species.

Development of methods for characterisation and conservation assessment of Inshore Reef Habitats

The definition of marine habitats as ordinated biological community complexes can allow variations in structure and prevalence of species to be used to show change that may be linked to environmental pressures. To date, the inshore intertidal and subtidal reef has not been the subject of the same degree of focused surveys as the offshore. As a result, Ireland’s knowledge of the communities that occur here is qualitative and patchy.

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.

Seabed sediment and ecosystem data collection in support of MSFD, Natura and Habitat mapping

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.

Synthesis and development of advisory products: SeaRover Phase 3

The EMFF Offshore Reef project, SeaRover (Sensitive ecosystem Assessment & ROV Exploration of Reef) was a three-year project (2017-2019). Project objectives were to map offshore reef habitats with a view to protecting them from deterioration due to fishing pressures.This project will synthesise the output of all three surveys and, in consultation with the most important end-users, map out how the data should be disseminated, analysed and developed into products and tools used for policy support.