Marine Chemistry Research Projects

Copyright Marine Institute/ Photographer Lisa Jones/ Photographer Tomasz Szumski/ Photographer Tomasz Szumski/ Copyright Marine Institute.

Recent projects include: 

2015 - 2018 Arsenic in marine macroalgae and implications for commercial uses (with Dr. Dagmar Stengel, Botany, National University of Ireland Galway, funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine's Food Institutional Research Measure (DAFM/FIRM))Laminaria digitata (Oar Weed) Image credit to Dr Dagmar Stengel

Post-doctoral research scientist Dr. Jenny Ronan describes her work, "Arsenic can exist in a variety of forms in the marine environment, some highly toxic and some considered benign. Therefore, total arsenic measurements in seafood or marine feed products are of limited value for assessing risk. Total arsenic levels can be naturally high in some seaweeds, but occurs predominantly in low or non-toxic (organic) forms. Non-compliance of algal-based feed products with EC regulatory limits for total arsenic presents a problem for developing Ireland's seaweed industry. The AsMARA research project will establish a reliable and simple analytical methodology for the determination of toxic (inorganic) arsenic in seaweed. We will complete a study on the variability of inorganic arsenic in a range of commercially relevant species and investigate the influence of a number of biological and environmental factors. More information is available here.

Sampling for carbon analysis  on board the RV Celtic Explorer. Photo courtesy of Tomasz Szumski.2013 – 2015    Biogeochemical Cycling of Carbon and Nutrients in Irish Marine and Coastal Waters (with Dr. Rachel Cave, National University of Ireland, Galway, Funded by Marine National Development Plan)  

Post-doctoral Research Scientist in chemical oceanography, Dr. Triona McGrath explains, “I’m  investigating levels of nutrients and carbon in Irish coastal and offshore waters to determine changes over time due to both natural and human influences. The primary goal is to establish rates of ocean acidification in the Northeast Atlantic due to increasing atmospheric CO2 and to determine if Irish estuaries and coastal waters are sources or sinks of CO2 to the atmosphere."

Preparing passive samplers for deployment in Cork Harbour. Photo courtesy of Lisa Jones

2013 - 2015   The Role of Passive Sampling in Screening and Monitoring of New and Emerging Chemicals (Lead Dublin City University, funded by Environmental Protection Agency)  

Post-doctoral Research Scientist Dr. Jenny Ronan describes her work, “I’m working through DCU as a postdoctoral researcher on an EPA funded project investigating the role of passive sampling for screening and monitoring new and emerging chemicals. I’m using two types of novel samplers suitable for contaminants in the aquatic environment, and also analysing water and biota samples. I’m sampling a wide range of study sites, including marine and freshwater sites to investigate differences from areas with different levels of man-made inputs.”

Investigating the contaminant concentration in various tissues of crustaceans. Copyright Marine Institute.2012 - 2015   Investigating the Contaminant Concentration in Various Tissues of Crustaceans Fished and Landed in Ireland (with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, supported by Food Safety Authority of Ireland) 

Caoimhin O Curraoin is currently studying for a PhD. Caoimhin explains, “I’m currently working as a PhD researcher on a project to establish a baseline database for various contaminants in the edible tissues of several species of crustaceans, such as brown crab, spider crab, Dublin Bay prawn and lobster fished in Irish coastal waters. The project also aims to ascertain the effects of processing on contaminants within these tissues. 


Validating novel sampling and analytical methods to determine levels of contaminants in different marine samples. Copyright Marine Institute.

2011- 2014 New Analytical Methodologies for Chemical Analysis of Pollutants and Residues (with Dublin Institute of Technology)

Philip White, who was awarded PhD in 2014, says, “My research involved developing and validating novel sampling and analytical methods to determine levels of contaminants in different marine samples such as biological tissue, sediment and water. The contaminants I looked at included Water Framework Directive priority substances such as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides and brominated flame retardants, as well as other pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls”.

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Marine Chemistry Research ProjectsMarine Chemistry Publications