It’s a bloody wonderful place to go for a dive or snorkel.
Seagrass, eel grass or Zostera marina, depending on your inclination, has been getting a lot more attention recently and with good cause.
A new focus on “blue carbon” has drawn attention to this wonderful habitat that despite making up just 0.1% of the earth’s surface but may sequester a much as 10% of the organic carbon buried in the oceans each year.
Obviously protecting existing areas of seagrass and restoring degraded areas is a key step in maximising the potential of seagrass to fight climate change and Minister for State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has said that it will be one of the habitats that will be included in the list of species and habitats that will receive protection under the upcoming Marine Protected Area legislation.
But we’ll leave the climate and the blue carbon to the experts and focus on why Seasearchers love it so much, it’s a bloody wonderful place to go for a dive or snorkel.
When divers think of seagrass meadows we don’t think of blue carbon and climate, we think scuttling crabs, darting wrasse, clinging anemones, hermit crabs and topshells. And that’s not forgetting the wonderful stalked jellyfish that you’re likely to see there. It’s a real summer dive as you can’t move quickly and a lot of time is just spent hovering over the bed slowly swimming along and all of a sudden you eye starts to pick out more and more details and more life. Juvenile fish and crabs suddenly appear where before there was just sand. Stalked jellyfish wave (and defy ID) from the tips of blades. And always the constant hope that maybe, today will finally be the day a seahorse swims into view.
Seagrass project - Would you like to learn more?
There are currently 142 records of eelgrass on the island of Ireland collected by Seasearch divers, north and south, in the Biodiversity Ireland mapping portal for 2003-2019 with more on the way. While there’s been excellent work so far Seasearch Ireland would like to do more so we’re starting the seagrass project, a broad idea at the moment, looking to collaborate with other groups and researchers working on this habitat and to increase public awareness.
We’re encouraging existing Seasearch recorders to take the time this summer to go out and survey their local seagrass patch, asking divers or snorkelers who aren’t currently recording to sign up for training so they can submit their own recorders and working with Galway Atlantaquaria to highlight this unique and beautiful species.
Get involved in Seagrass Restoration
Seasearch Ireland, Galway Atlantaquaria are seeking interest from the public about joining a seagrass restoration initiative in Galway. If interested, can you click the button below and email Garry at the Aquarium to learn more about what roles are needed for this new project.
A Rock pool Calls - Time to Discover Something New
After many months of cold weather and miserable days, it’s time to get ready for rock pooling again. So, wellie up and take a quick walk in the pools with us.
If you need guided rockpool experiences with the Aquarium, check out our Facebook page for upcoming events, we usually advertise at least two weeks in advance.
We ran 2 rockpool experiences recently and have spotted lots of species already. From anemones, blennies, shore crabs, limpets, gobies, and whelks.
There are several really cool things happening, like nursery season, blooms, and the news along the west coast is the arrival of Glass eels on beaches in Kerry.
GLASS EELS - Reports along the Coasts
WHAT DO I DO IF I SEE A GLASS EEL
There have been some sightings of these wonderful species along the coast, so we expect to discover them on Grattan soon.
While it’s a really cool thing to see, its best practice to snap a quick photo or video and then leave it be (no handling etc).
There is some really cool info about these species here:
Inland Fisheries Ireland
BUBBLES mystery solved?
This phenomena has irked me for ages. A few years ago I was on the shore and all of a sudden I heard this mass of hissing? I was wondering what was going on and noticed masses of air bubbles appearing all over the shore. I remember videoing the phenomena and I could not get an answer. There were a number of theories put forward, like pipes, decaying matter, lugworm hollows and sand settling.
MYSTERY SOLVED? PARTIAL
After the video was reviewed the growing theory is the sand settling and decaying matter theory. I think this is the most rational on, as the incoming tide weighs heavily on the sand. I am still open to other theories though....
While its good to go rockpooling we are hoping you can still find time to capture some egg cases too. This Citizen Science activity is really important and you can always do this when walking into the rockpool.
Join us on the Shore
Time to Discover Something New
There is no better time, to start your new hobby of rock pooling, we have some wonderful info in earlier blogs, but you are more than welcome to join us on the next adventure. Make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook page for news of events.
The Ray Project began with an egg case biodiversity project and expanded into what it is today. This is all thanks to the hard work from our team and our partners. As a team of young female scientists, we are advocates for women in science and want to set an example for the talented women scientists that follow our footsteps.
Our research would not be possible without the help of citizen scientists and local marine advocates. We have begun to educate the local community about the importance of Rays and Skates in our waters, and encourage others on how they can help through citizen science projects.
Divers and beach walkers are a great help to us as they discover & identify egg casings both on land and in water. Gathering more photos of these will contribute hugely to our research project as we work towards their protection.
Anyone can log their sightings of skates and egg casings on our website www.therayproject.org.
We wouldn’t be able to carry out our research without their help and it just goes to show that everyone can be involved in science and make a difference to the vulnerable marine life that needs our support.
As we continue our research and community engagement, we look forward to what the future brings for this project and for Rays and Skates everywhere.
Would you like to learn more? Community Event Day
You can book here, and the first 20 people booked for this event will get a limited-edition Thornback Ray Pin! (one per booking).
The main reason for this has been recognized to be the lack of ocean-related content in standard school curricula. However, in the last twenty years this problem has started being addressed with the development of ‘Ocean Literacy’ campaigns.
WHAT IS OCEAN LITERACY
The final aim of ocean literacy is to connect ‘the human dimension to the ocean and that intends to be an incentive for positive change in people’s behavior’.
Ocean Literacy Images
An ocean journey with the Argo float, The Argo Adventure
We are increasingly concerned about global climate change and its regional impacts. Sea level is rising at an accelerating rate of 3 mm/year, Arctic sea ice cover is shrinking, and high latitude areas are warming rapidly. Extreme weather events cause loss of life and enormous burdens on the insurance industry. Globally, 9 of the 10 warmest years since 1880, when instrumental records began, were in the 21st century.
Understanding (and eventually predicting) changes in both the atmosphere and ocean are needed to guide international actions, to optimize governments’ policies and to shape industrial strategies. To make those predictions we need improved models of climate and of the entire earth system (including socio-economic factors).
Lack of sustained observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land have hindered the development and validation of climate models. An example from an analysis done prior to Argo concluded that the currents transporting heat northwards in the Atlantic and influencing western European climate had weakened by 30% in the past decade. This result had to be based on just five research measurements spread over 40 years. Was this change part of a trend that might lead to a major change in the Atlantic circulation, or due to natural variability that will reverse in the future, or is it an artifact of the limited observations?
That step was Argo.
There are three questions about the elusive and fragile ocean twilight zone that should be prioritized with the Argo Mission:
- How many organisms live there, and how diverse are they?
- Which ecological processes transform and consume organic material?
- How is organic material transported into and out of the twilight zone?
There is NO doubt the Argo Mission is really important; we need more engineers who can meet the challenges of the DEEP OCEAN exploration. We need to build solid engineering floats that can tell us an amazing story of hope for the ocean. We also need more scientists and researchers who can translate billions of terabytes of data into clear, simple warnings! We need Early detection, mitigation of the Climate Crisis in the ocean and the Science needs to be free for the public to inform themselves.
To learn more about the Argo Floats, they will be on display in the Aquarium from the 5th – 6th March as part of the Engineers Week celebrations, we hope to see you there.
If you would like to learn more, see.
BREAKING NEWS!! We will also display the WAVY family too.
The WAVY family- the MELOA project
STEPS Engineers Week promotes engineering and the importance of the profession to children in Ireland. The Engineers Ireland STEPS Programme is a non-profit outreach programme that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students in the Republic of Ireland through a portfolio of projects. https://www.engineersireland.ie/Schools/Engineers-Week/About-Engineers-Week#
EuroSea Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Cb8XwxAFY&t=1s
Argo Floats : How do we measure the ocean? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGbanFvBX38
Euro Argo Official - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvz-OXpGcpg
Argo Floats - a science-comics video with Rick Rupan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkA53jkAtpM
The cycle of an Argo Float https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkctZlQgU0g
AtlantOS Argo Float Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AZlbC_nTNY
Argo float animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzHZdwaBr_Q
Two decades of Argo floats displacements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTvCd4Y33Hw
Day in the Life of a SOCCOM Float https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5_pCmUM2Qc
SURVEY to be completed on day of event
Our goal is to share the diversity of stories that reflect the beauty of the sea, we are doing this by sharing images, stories, art, reviews & interpretation of the beautiful blue ocean we are only discovering.
This blog is to record the adventures , ocean literacy, discoveries , and showcase the hidden beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.
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ART UNDERWATER 2022
CÚRAM - Vitamin Sea
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MAY ART Exhibit 2022
Visit Salthill Guide