Scientists, seafarers and sea enthusiasts feature in Oceans of Learning webinar

Finn van der Aar, author and marine biologist.14 May 2021: Join the conversation with scientists, seafarers and sea enthusiasts, for the Marine Institute's Oceans of Learning live webinar at 4pm on Thursday 20th May 2021 to mark European Maritime Day.

Hosted by Finn van der Aar, Irish marine scientist, speaker and author, the special one-hour webinar will explore our ocean - from supporting diverse marine life and ecosystems, to sustaining livelihoods and the impact of a changing ocean climate.

Filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan will share his experiences searching for blue whales, sharks and deep-water coral reefs in the North Atlantic for the documentary Ireland's Deep Atlantic. The two-part series explores many of Ireland's sea creatures for the first time, documenting their behaviour, in addition to investigating the health of our deep Atlantic waters.

Professor Louise Allcock at NUI Galway will also join Finn for a Q&A session. Professor Allcock has explored Ireland's deep-sea habitats and is an expert in octopuses, squids and cuttlefish, along with sponges and corals.

Finn will speak to Roberta O'Brien, the first woman in the history of the Irish Naval Service to achieve the rank of Commander in 2020. Commander O'Brien has held a wide variety of roles and appointments at sea and ashore, and was also the first female to captain an Irish warship when she assumed command of the LÉ Aisling in 2008.

The live webinar will conclude with a panel discussion on our ocean and climate change, with marine geologist Professor Andrew Wheeler, University of College Cork and Glenn Nolan, Manager of Oceanographic and Climate Services at the Marine Institute. The panel will also include Marie Donnelly, Chair of Ireland's Climate Change Advisory Council, and former Director General of the European Commission with responsibility for Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Innovation.

Speaking about the European Maritime Day event, Finn van der Aar said, "I'm delighted to be presenting the Marine Institute's Oceans of Learning webinar and speaking with Ireland's researchers and professionals about our ocean. From careers at sea, to creatures of the deep and our changing ocean climate, there are many reasons why our seas and oceans are important to our everydayOceans of Learning lives."

The webinar will also launch the Marine Institute's programme of events for the Oceans of Learning series. Over four weeks, the Marine Institute will offer news, videos and resources which celebrate our seas and Ireland's ocean. This will include a weekly Oceans of Learning podcast, presented by Finn van der Aar, which will share the stories from the people and professionals who have a connection with the sea – through science, careers, industry, art and more.

Register here for the Oceans of Learning webinar on Thursday 20th May at 4.00pm (IST) or visit

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