Scientists and students at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will make a day trip on the Marine Institute's research vessel, RV Celtic Voyager, today (21 June) to take part in Ocean Sampling Day 2019.
Ocean Sampling Day is a simultaneous sampling campaign of the world's oceans by scientists globally. It is organised by an EU consortium of marine research institutes, known as ASSEMBLE Plus, of which NUI Galway's Ryan Institute is a partner. Chief Scientist Professor Louise Allcock, who is Director of the Centre for Ocean Research and Exploration within the Ryan Institute, will lead a team of four experienced scientists and 11 Marine Science undergraduate students who are in the first to third year of their studies.
Professor Allcock said, "We will sample and filter water from the ocean, and our filter papers, as well as those from other sites around the world, which will be sent to a molecular lab in a marine station in Greece where all the DNA on the filter papers will be sequenced to give an estimate of what bacterial and invertebrate species are present in the ocean. A healthy ocean has a wide variety of species – an unhealthy ocean less so, and hence we get an overview of our ocean health."
Sheena Fennell, one of the experienced scientists in the team who has spent extensive time at sea, explained the benefits to the undergraduate students joining the expedition. "The students learn in their lectures all about the water column, the bacteria and invertebrates living therein, and the specialised gears that we use to sample, but this is an opportunity for them to get genuine hands-on experience while contributing to an international research project."
Mick Gillooly, Marine Institute Director of Ocean Science and Information Services said, "We are delighted to support NUI Galway and the students taking part in this year's Ocean Sampling Day. Students on board the Celtic Voyager will gain hands-on experience, providing our future ocean leaders with the knowledge and skills to work and carry out research at sea."
The science team will sample directly above the SmartBay SubSea Cabled Observatory in Galway Bay. Professor Allcock emphasised the importance of this site to the project, "The SmartBay Observatory provides subsea data all year round which means there is an enormous environmental dataset to complement our physical samples. Taking our samples from here, also affords us the opportunity to highlight this impressive infrastructure to our European colleagues."
SmartBay SubSea Cabled Observatory - http://smartbay.marine.ie
Center for Ocean Research and Exploration in the Ryan Institute http://www.nuigalway.ie/ryaninstitute/researchcentersandclusters/corex/
ASSEMBLE Plus - http://www.assembleplus.eu