Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers visited the Marine Institute in Oranmore to hear about the ongoing collaborations between the Marine Institute and Canada, including a survey on the Celtic Explorer, which left St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador last Wednesday, May 11th with scientists from Ireland, Canada and the USA onboard to map a transect of the Atlantic seabed.
Ambassador Vickers also had the opportunity to meet local transition year students from Calasanctius Secondary school in Oranmore who were visiting the Marine Institute to learn about marine research, potential career opportunities and to promote ocean literacy. He talked to them about the longstanding links between Ireland and Newfoundland.
Dr. Peter Heffernan said, "Cooperation between our nations is key to improving our ocean wealth and promoting the sustainable management of its resources. It's hugely important for Ireland and brings us closer to achieving the goals of the 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' signed here at the Marine Institute Galway in May 2013 by the EU, USA and Canada"
"The current survey on the Celtic Explorer is called TRASNA (the Irish word for crossing) and is the fourth seabed mapping survey to take place under the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance," explained Dr Heffernan.
The Marine Institute is leading the Horizon 2020 funded project -The Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Coordination and Support Action – to support the implementation of the Galway Statement, signed at the Marine Institute, Oranmore 24th May 2013.
Meanwhile the visiting students were given an overview of the wide ranging research areas within the Institute by Dr. Paul Connolly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystems and Advisory Services.
The students toured the fish aging laboratories to learn how scientists use the otolith, or earbone, of a fish to discover its age and how this process is used for assessing fish stocks so that we know the sustainable limits for fishing. The students also learned about ocean acidification and how climate change is being affected by the increase of CO2 in our oceans with talk by Dr Triona McGrath.
The INFOMAR team demonstrated their work on seabed mapping using the latest technology, explaining the importance of topography, geology and seabed mapping using Ireland's first Augmented Reality Sandbox.