Marine Institute welcomes TREC (Traversing European Coastlines) Expedition to Galway

Tara Schooner in open watersNext week, the Marine Institute will host a first of its kind European science expedition when it makes a stop in Galway. The European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL) is carrying out a pan-European census of European coastal ecosystems and their response to the environment.

Working along with the Tara Schooner, the expedition will explore the interactions between the two major ecosystems (Land and Sea) on our planet in order to better understand how these ecosystems interact, and how the organisms within them respond to changes both natural and those from human disturbance.  

The EMBL mobile lab will be based at the Marine Institute in Rinville for daily coastal sampling, and the Tara Ocean Schooner will undertake offshore sampling at the same time.

TREC mobile lab visiting local docks

The Marine Institute will benefit from hosting the TREC expedition as it focuses on how Ireland as a coastal nation and part of the larger European coastal ecosystems, is subject to the impact of environmental changes. The baseline information on coastal ecology gathered will serve as a reference point for future assessments, evaluations, and comparisons to measure the impact of coastal climate change.  

Moreover, TREC explores carbon capture pathways, helps understand global warming effects, and examines communities of species and study antibiotics in the environment to protect Ireland's coastal biodiversity. The findings will offer valuable insights to the Marine Institute for managing and preserving Ireland's coastal regions and marine life.

Commenting on the visit, Joe Silke, Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute said, “We are proud to be the Local Partner for TREC’s stop in Galway. The research being conducted addresses crucial issues such as pollution, biodiversity loss, and invasive species, expanding on, and directly relevant to the Marine Institute’s work in Ireland's coastal habitats.”

The TREC expedition brings together more than 150 research teams from over 70 institutions in 29 European countries. The Galway stop-over is one of 46 regions all along the coast from Mediterranean to Scandinavian countries that they will sample over the next two years, and will be in Galway between 2nd and 14th September.  

At the Galway stop, the scientific activities include soil, sediment, water, aerosol, selected species and environmental data sampling involving EMBL’s mobile laboratories and the Tara Ocean Schooner. The equipment and technologies in the mobile labs mean scientists can perform molecular research in direct proximity to the sampling site. This preserves the samples immediately after taking them from the field and reduces any changes or degradation that might happen during transit.

Alongside the scientific expedition, TREC is also organising several free public engagement events in Galway, encouraging the local community to find out more about marine science and molecular biology, many of which are family friendly. 

  • Tara Vessel Tours 
    • 10th September; 10am — 6pm; Galway Docks 
  • Science on Tour 
    • 8th September; 6pm — 8pm; Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden
    • Interactive science talks with our scientists
  • TREC in the City Travelling Exhibition
    • 9th — 13th September; multiple locations
  • Nexus Island Augmented Reality Game-based Workshop 
    • 9th — 13th September; multiple locations
  • Public Workshops 
    • 9th — 13th September; Galway City Museum and more locations
    • Plastic at sea, the solutions are on land
    • Observing the invisible inhabitants of the Ocean
    • Art & Science: the emotion of discovery       
    • The Ocean, key to life on Earth

Local schools are also invited to register for group visits of the Tara Schooner. Limited sessions are available between 11-14 September. 
For more information on the events and to register for the vessel tours, visit:



For more information, please contact:
Sheila Byrnes, Marine Institute e. m. +353 (0)87 815 5271
Sinéad Coyne, Marine Institute e. m. +353 (0)87 947 7090

Notes to Editor:

About Marine Institute
The Marine Institute provides government, public agencies, and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory, and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation, and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland’s marine resources. The Institute undertakes, coordinates, and promotes marine research and development, which is essential to achieving a sustainable ocean economy, protecting ecosystems, and inspiring a shared understanding of the ocean.

About EMBL
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is Europe’s life sciences laboratory. We provide leadership and coordination for the life sciences across Europe, and our world-class fundamental research seeks collaborative and interdisciplinary solutions for some of society’s biggest challenges. We provide training for students and scientists, drive the development of new technology and methods in the life sciences, and offer state-of-the-art research infrastructure for a wide range of experimental and data services.

EMBL is an intergovernmental organisation with 28 member states, one associate member, and one prospective member. At our six sites in Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Hinxton near Cambridge, and Rome, we seek to better understand life in its natural context, from molecules to ecosystems. 

About TREC
TREC (Traversing European Coastlines) is an expedition to study coastal ecosystems and their response to the environment, from molecules to communities. The TREC expedition started in April 2023 and is expected to last until end of June 2024. During that time, the researchers will be gathering biological samples and environmental data along the European coastline at more than 120 land-sea transects. In selected sites, time-series measurements will be performed to account for annual changes.

The expedition combines ocean exploration, conducted by the Tara Ocean Foundation and Tara Oceans Consortium, with parallel sampling of soil, sediment, shallow water, and selected model organisms in various habitats, supported by EMBL’s land-based mobile services and local marine research institutions. 

About Tara Ocean Foundation
The Tara Ocean Foundation is the first public interest foundation in France dedicated to the Ocean. Its 2 main missions are to explore the Ocean to better understand it and share the relating scientific knowledge to raise citizen and collective awareness. For 20 years, the Foundation has developed a high- level Ocean science in collaboration with international research laboratories of excellence, to explore, understand and anticipate the upheavals related to climate and environmental risks, as well as the impacts of pollution. In order to make the Ocean a common responsibility and to preserve it, the Tara Ocean Foundation also works towards raising public awareness about ocean science and educating the younger generations. By studying and protecting the Ocean, we take care of our planet’s global system.