Opportunity for Postgraduates to research Cold Water Carbonate Ecosystems in Irish waters

RV Celtic ExplorerMarine related Postgraduates (MSc and PhD) across Ireland and Germany are being offered a unique opportunity to gain offshore research and training skills and experience acting as Chief Scientists of their own research onboard the RV Celtic Explorer, in September (11th – 17th) as part of the 2014 Atlantic Summer School.

The five days of research onboard the RV Celtic Explorer will focus on a multidisciplinary investigation of cold water coral ecosystems, off the Belgica Mound Province which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) approximately 100km south west of Ireland.

“These unique environments are biological “hot-spots” with diverse animal life associated with the reef-building corals. Formed over millennia, the giant carbonate mounds reach up to 300m high, at depths of between 550 and 1060m in the ocean”, explained Dr Pauhla McGrane, National Coordinator of Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training, Ireland.

“Postgraduates will gain experience acquiring, processing and archiving samples taken from the mounds, which provide high-resolution records of long term climate change. Using a variety of novel equipment and instrumentation, the survey will focus on the biological, geological and oceanographic dynamics that control the development and decay of carbonate mounds.”

In addition, the Atlantic Summer School includes pre-survey meetings (via Skype), pre-cruise preparation in Cork and post-survey data analysis and reporting in Galway.

The course also includes distance learning, lectures and practical shore-based workshops. “This pooled infrastructure and expertise from Ireland and Germany’s Higher Education Institutes (Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART), Ireland and the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany) provides an incredible chance for postgraduates to get the necessary practical experience and develop networking opportunities they need early in their careers,” said Professor Karen Wiltshire, Vice-President of AWI.

“We are all pleased to be part of this strategic collaboration, which will ultimately develop careers pathways and mobility for students between the island of Ireland and Germany and increase multidisciplinary research capacity in Atlantic nations,” she said.

Dr Peter Heffernan congratulated all involved in this important initiative on board the Celtic Explorer saying “the Marine Institute is delighted to be supporting this excellent training opportunity for Irish Postgraduates”.

For further information please visit the SMART website (http://www.smartseaschool.com/atlanticsummerschool) or contact smart@gmit.ie.

Online application forms must be completed and received by 17:00 hrs (CET) on Friday 6th June 2014. Applicants will be informed on the outcome of evaluations by 20th June 2014.