Foras na Mara

Our People – Michelle Geary

In 2021, the Marine Institute is profiling our people, sharing their study and career paths, the work they do at the Marine Institute and the important contribution their work delivers.

Michelle Geary, Marine Institute

Michelle Geary
Laboratory Analyst, Fish Health Unit

Marine Institute

What is your current role at the Marine Institute and what's involved in your daily work?
I am a Bacteriologist for fish diseases in the Marine Institute's Fish Health Unit, which is part of the Marine Environment Food Safety Services team. The Fish Health Unit is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for finfish, molluscs and crustacean diseases in Ireland. As a result, the team has a very diverse skill set.

My job has plenty of variety. My main role is to manage the day to day running of the Bacteriology Laboratory. However, my day can include carrying out traditional diagnostic methods, molecular testing, testing of antimicrobial residues in fish tissue and postmortems.

What did you study and why?
I always wanted to work with animals. During secondary school, I worked in a veterinary practice for work experience. While working with animals was great, I knew I would not be able to deal with some of the animal cruelty that I may come across, from time to time, working in a veterinary practice.

Biology continued to be my main interest. In 2003, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Bioanalysis and Biotechnology from the Limerick Institute of Technology. That summer, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work as a Laboratory Attendant with the Marine Institute in Abbotstown on a six month contract. Then I was successful in securing a three-year Laboratory Analyst position which led to a full-time position in the Marine Institute's Fish Health Unit.

As a child fascinated by animals and biology, but I did not picture that the creatures I would end up working with would be of the aquatic kind. However, my work has always intrigued me, and my eyes have been opened to this wondrous world.

What are you interests and passions?
For as long as I can remember swimming has always been a love of mine. In the winter, it is just short swims but thankfully as the weather is getting warmer, I am looking forward to getting in a bit more distance.

What is the best thing about working in the Marine Institute? What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really like the variety of the work in my role, as well as the variety of work that takes place in the Fish Health Unit. No day is ever the same, and each day there is always something interesting to learn about and to expand our breadth of knowledge.

What is something you think everyone should know about the ocean?
The ocean offers us endless amounts of fascinating information. But why is it that beautiful blue? Well, yellow, orange and red wavelengths are absorbed better by water than the colour blue. Therefore, when light from the sun enters the ocean, it is mostly blue that is returned. This also explains why the sky is blue.

 ENDS