16th June 2021: Over the past four weeks, the Marine Institute and partners have been celebrating our seas through the 2021 Oceans of Learning series, by offering a new podcast series, educational videos and short films, and the latest news and information all about our ocean.
A host of Oceans of Learning resources are now available on the Marine Institute's website, enabling everyone to engage with our ocean from anywhere. The Oceans of Learning series has explored all aspects of our marine resource - from our rich marine biodiversity, to our changing ocean climate, and our ocean's future.
Mick Gillooly, Interim CEO of the Marine Institute said, "Through our Oceans of Leaning series we have explored how important the ocean is to our lives and our livelihoods. The ocean is our greatest natural resource, and by working together we can further understand our ocean in order to sustainably manage it for future generations. By raising awareness of the opportunities and benefits provided by our ocean, the people of Ireland will be inspired to safeguard and harness this valuable marine resource."
The spectacular short film Ireland's Marine Life, a collaboration between the Irish Chamber Orchestra, underwater filmmaker Vincent Hyland and the Marine Institute, premiered during Oceans of Learning. Ireland's Marine Life takes a dive beneath the waves of Ireland's wild Atlantic waves to explore the variety of sea life found in Irish waters. The short film Dive Deep with the ROV Holland 1, enabled viewers to explore our deep sea like a marine scientist and discover cold-water corals, shipwrecks and a rare shark nursery in Irish waters. The Marine Institute also launched a new Sea Science Series with Mark Langtry, 'The Science Guy'. Mark brings the wonders of sea science to the screen with his entertaining and educational sea science shows.
A new Oceans of Learning podcast series included deep dive conversations with ocean experts and leaders around the world, sharing their stories and solutions to the challenges the ocean is facing. Hosted by Irish scientist and author, Finn van der Aar talked to a range of guests including Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and John Bell, Director Healthy Planet, DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission. The four-part podcast series also included interviews with researcher and big wave surfer Dr Easkey Britton, Tracey Ryan, Managing Director for Codex Beauty Ireland and Ireland's first female Navy Diver Tahlia Britton. Finn has also spoke with leading scientists such as Dr Ken Whelan, Research Director with the Atlantic Salmon Trust, Dr Triona McGrath, Research Lead at An Fóram Uisce, and scientists from the Marine Institute.
Oceans of Learning also offered a special live webinar, featuring conversations with filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan, Professor Louise Allcock, NUI Galway and Roberta O'Brien the first woman in the Irish Naval Service to achieve the rank of Commander. There was also a climate change panel discussion with Marie Donnelly, Chair of Ireland's Climate Change Advisory Council, Professor Andrew Wheeler of University College Cork, and Glenn Nolan, Manager of Oceanographic and Climate Services at the Marine Institute.
As part of the Marine Institute Explorers Education Programme, a 1.5 metre unmanned mini sailboat called 'Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor' was deployed from the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer into the Atlantic Ocean near the M6 Weather Buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey. Children from Kilglass National school painted and decorated the boat, created artwork and good luck messages. The mini-boat is equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, which allows the students to track it as it sails across the ocean and gain a better understanding of ocean currents. In 12 days, the boat has travelled over 700 nm (1296 km) at an average speed of 2.39 knots is now officially the northernmost travelled mini-boat.
For the 2021 Oceans of Learning series, the Marine Institute worked with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and a range of partners across Ireland including Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Bord Bia, Met Éireann, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Naval Service, SEAI, Irish Ocean Literacy Network, NUI Galway, UCC, Maynooth University, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Teagasc, Seavite, Codex Beauty, Green Rebel Marine, GOAL and many more.
Acknowledging the support from a wide-range of partners, Mick Gillooly said, "Thanks to the government departments, state agencies and organisations across Ireland and further afield who came together virtually for the Oceans of Learning series, to celebrate and highlight the vital role our ocean plays in all of our lives."
As part of the Oceans of Learning series, a #SeaToMe social media competition encouraged people across Ireland to share what the sea means to them for the chance to win weekly prizes. More than 300 entries were received, with people sharing photos of their favourite places along the Irish coast and activities along the shore, as well as artworks inspired by our ocean.
To view the suite of resources available for Oceans of Learning visit www.marine.ie