Marine Biodiversity

From sandy shores and sheltered bays to the bed of the deep sea, the ocean is home to many species of fish, mammals, crustaceans and invertebrates. The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.

With Ireland's marine territory ten times the size of its land area, the waters surrounding Ireland are highly productive and provide a habitat for hundreds of species of invertebrates and fish, 35 species of sharks, as well as 24 species of whales and dolphins.

Scientists survey our marine habitats to enable us to better understand Ireland's marine territory so that we can protect and monitor our marine biodiversity. In 2018, a team of scientists discovered a very rare shark nursery, 200 miles west of Ireland. Scientists have also explored deep-water coral reefs and in 2017 discovered the deepest known occurrence of cold-water coral in Irish waters at a depth of 1,600m.

Dive below the ocean surface and discover what lies beneath with resources on sharks, skates and rays, deep-sea species, coral reefs and a range of marine life.

To find out more, dive deep into the Oceans of Learning resources available below: