Three budding marine biologists, Emily Kenna, Karen Cotter and Sharon Looney from Glanmire Community College, Cork, were presented with the Marine Institute Award at the Young Scientist Exhibition, for their project that examined how mussels can be used to detect pollution in water.
The project entitled "Mussels Clam up in the Face of Pollution" compared mussel samples taken from two sites in Cork. "We wanted to prove that mussels could be used as bio-indicators of water pollution. We did this by examining the levels of protein in the mussel samples and our findings showed there were higher levels of protein in mussels taken from polluted water than those taken from non-polluted water", said project member Karen Cotter.
The team of young marine biologists are all fifth year students in Glanmire Community College. They began research on their project in September and worked tirelessly over their Christmas holidays to ensure success at the Young Scientist Exhibition.
"We are delighted to present this well deserved award to the students from Glanmire Community College ", said Caroline Hepburn, Director Corporate Services, Marine Institute. "Their project is a very practical demonstration of the application of science, and marine biology, in particular. The sustainable development of our marine resources will one day be in the hands of this new generation and the more they learn about marine science in schools the better the future will be for Marine research and development in Ireland."
Thousands of students from all over Ireland visited the Marine Institute's exhibition stand at the Young Scientist Exhibition, where they got to see a model of the Celtic Explorer, Irelands largest marine research vessel and had the opportunity to meet with Marine biologists to learn about some of the research that is undertaken on board the vessel including fish stock assessments, environmental monitoring, the National Seabed Survey, and the deploying and servicing weather data buoys to increase safety at sea.
The Marine Institute has already piloted a schools page on the sea at www.marine.ie and has developed a demonstration CD for secondary schools, which gives a sample of images from the National Coastline Survey and illustrates how the images can be used to bring the coastal environment to life in the classroom by linking it to the national curriculum. A limited number of demonstration CDs are available to teachers on request.