Marine Institute Open Access Repository

Welcome to the Marine Institute Open Access Repository

The Marine Institute Open Access Repository facilitates full text access to the publications of the Marine Institute in accordance with copyright permissions. The aim of the Repository is to collect, preserve and provide open access to the publications of the Marine Institute, including the research publications supported by National and European funded marine research programmes.



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  • Scale Growth Analysis of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus) Unlocking Environmental Histories

    Thomas, K. (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, 2018)
    Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) populations have declined rapidly in recent years across all geographical ranges with populations becoming extinct within certain areas. Direct observation of the salmon’s life is difficult and costly; therefore, scales remain the most widely used material to indirectly assess and monitor the recent changes in growth. Growth marks (circuli) in scales of Atlantic salmon are used to estimate age and to reconstruct growth histories. This thesis investigated mechanisms of circuli formation and the causes of variation in scale growth measurements. Comparison of scales from multiple body locations (Chapter 2) showed that growth, size and shape measurements varied significantly between body locations. Scale measurements taken from the sampling location recommended by ICES were sufficiently correlated with measurements from two adjacent locations in the posterior body region to facilitate conversion; calibration equations are presented for this purpose. Scale measurements from the anterior body region were highly variable and their use is not recommended. Scale size measurements from the recommended sampling location and from the two adjacent locations in the posterior body region were sufficiently correlated with fish fork length. Differences in scale size could potentially be used to determine the body location from which a scale was most likely sampled if this information has not been recorded (e.g. in archived scale collections); regression equations are presented for this purpose. Analysis of scales from experimentally reared Atlantic salmon post-smolts (Chapters 3 and 4), showed that scale growth and circuli number was proportional to fish growth under a range of different water temperatures and feeding conditions, justifying the use of these measurements as a proxy for growth. The rate of circuli deposition varied between temperature and feeding treatments and circuli number was proportional to cumulative degree day. Narrow inter-circuli spacings were observed during periods of slow growth at low temperatures and during periods of fast growth at high temperatures; therefore, circuli spacing should not be used to infer growth rates. In Chapter 5, scales from Atlantic salmon collected from three Irish rivers (Burrishoole, Moy and the Shannon) between 1954 and 2008 were analysed to determine if marine growth has changed during that period and to establish if trends are consistent across populations. Scale growth measurements and their temporal trends varied between populations. Post-smolt scale growth and circuli number were negatively correlated with SST (Burrishoole and Moy), NAO (Burrishoole) and AMO Burrishoole and Shannon). The results indicate that trends observed in one national index river may not be representative of change across all populations. The new knowledge generated in this thesis supports more accurate interpretation of scale growth measurements, furthers our understanding of this important species and ultimately benefits the future management of this species.
  • Beaufort Marine Award: Economic and Social Research related to Development Dynamics of the Marine Sector in Ireland (BEAU/ECON/04)

    Hynes, S.; Corless, R.; Vega, A. (Marine Institute, 2018)
    The vision for this project was the creation of a unit that would underpin the development of the marine sector in Ireland as elaborated in the Sea Change Strategy; a unit that would contribute to the EU marine socio-economic research agenda and that would strengthen marine research in general through providing a complementary socioeconomic element into scientific projects and that would be involved in the transfer of tacit knowledge to marine industry, thereby enhancing innovation and raising its competitiveness. The Beaufort work programme was comprised of three major blocks: • Marine socioeconomic research capacity building • Constructing data bases and monitoring the evolution of the marine sector • A research programme which consisted of a number of key research topics: o The impact of policy and regulations on the development of the marine industry in Ireland o The economic and social impact of the marine sectors in Ireland o Valuing ecosystem service provision from marine resources in Ireland o Economic data collection and reporting on Ireland’s ocean and coastal economies Underpinning Research The “Economic and Social Research related to Development Dynamics of the Marine Sector in Ireland” Beaufort project involved research on a variety of marine related issues associated with the economics of fisheries, marine energy, shipping and other marine sectors as well as research that valued the marine environment and that examined issues surrounding the rural development of coastal communities. In particular it involved examining the economic utility of the marine environment (e.g. transportation, recreation) and the ecological value (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture) derived from the productivity of associated ecosystems. The coastal and contiguous marine environment surrounding Ireland and the EU in general provided the geographical focus for the research. Consideration of the human dimension in the management of marine ecosystems was also a critical component of the research programme. A key element of the project involves the compilation of information in relation to economic and social patterns in Irish coastal communities as well as the economic activity taking place in the seas surrounding Ireland. The project was also very successful in terms of the first element of the Beaufort work program: Marine socioeconomic research capacity building. The project team leveraged over NDP Marine Research Sub-Programme 2007-2013 €2 million in additional funding over the life of the Award, which included funded projects such as: • Horizon 2020. Project Title: ATLAS: A Trans-Atlantic Assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe - In association with 24 other European research organisations. • Horizon 2020. Project Title: MERCES:Marine Ecosystem Restoration in changing European Seas - In association with 25 other European research organisation. • Norwegian Research Council Funding Programme. Project title: AquaAccept: Developing novel socio-environmental indicators and management tools for a sustainable aquaculture • Environmental Protection Agency Science, Technology, Research & Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme 2014 Award. Project Title: Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation A full list of additional funding secured in the area of marine socio-economic research by the project team is provided.
  • Beaufort Marine Award: Sensors and Communication System for Marine Environments (BEAU SENS 2007)

    Regan, Fiona (Marine Institute, 2018)
    EU decisions 1600/2002/EC laying down the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme and EU Directive 2008/56/EC of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) emphasise that: “The marine environment is a precious heritage that must be protected, preserved and, where practicable, restored with the ultimate aim of maintaining biodiversity and providing diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive.” The same directive also required that:
“Each Member State should therefore develop a marine strategy for its marine waters which, while being specific to its own waters, reflects the overall perspective of the marine region or sub-region concerned. Marine strategies should culminate in the execution of programmes of measures designed to achieve or maintain good environmental status.” In response to the EU directives to promote sustainable use of the seas and conserving marine ecosystems, the Republic of Ireland via the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources launched ‘The Beaufort Marine Research Awards (BMA)’ in June 2007. This Beaufort Award ‘Sensors and Communication Systems for the Marine Environment’ aimed to develop deployable marine analytical platforms with wireless communication capability to perform autonomous sampling for extended periods of time. This multidisciplinary Beaufort team includes skillsets of chemistry, sensing, separation science, molecular biology, engineering and image analysis contributing to six research sub-programmes or workpackages. The BMA project started in 2007 at DCU. In 2010 the Marine and Environmental Sensing Technology Hub (MESTECH) was established as a result of the growing expertise in marine sensing technology and monitoring in DCU. A MESTECH website was developed (, and MESTECH actively engaged with social media technologies such as Twitter to significantly increase the international and national profile of our marine research and the BMA. The project has published >70 peer-reviewed papers. BMA members have presented >70 conferences and workshop papers or posters, >10 invited talks and several visits to other marine research laboratories have taken place. Collaborations with other marine research institutions and with industries operating within marine sector across EU, US and Asia have been formed. These national/ international collaborations facilitate technical and knowledge exchanges that are important in promoting the research capability of Ireland, and would facilitate Irish companies in accessing new technologies to contribute towards building the future economy. These collaborations are also the basis of forming international consortia for 10 future non-exchequer funding applications. In addition to the academic achievements and growing network of collaborators, the outputs of the research include novel chemical and biosensing platforms, a significant long-term dataset from a variety of sites, data analytics platforms for decision support tool development and novel materials for marine and other applications. Despite these successes, there is still much to do to achieve the ultimate goal of promoting Ireland as a leading marine research nation and more resources (both financial and human resources) are required to bring the current work forward to sustain long-term, high-quality research. The Beaufort PIs and management team have been very active in funding applications. Greater than €5 million funding was secured since the start of the BMA programme from agencies including FP7 programme, QUESTOR and national agencies such as IRCSET, SFI, EI, HEA and EPA leveraging the success of the BMA programme.
  • The Irish Maritime Transport Economist Volume 15

    Irish Maritime Development Office (Irish Maritime Development Office, 2018)
  • Celtic Sea Herring Acoustic Survey Cruise Report 2018, 08 - 28 October, 2018

    O'Donnell, C.; Mullins, E.; Lynch, D.; Lyons, K.; Keogh, N.; O'Callaghan, S. (Marine Institute, 2018)
    In the southwest of Ireland and the Celtic Sea (ICES Divisions VIIaS, g & j), herring are an important commercial species to the pelagic and polyvalent fleet. For a period in the 1970s and1980s, larval surveys were conducted for herring in this area. However, since 1989, acoustic surveys have been carried out, and currently are the only tuning indices available for this stock. In the Celtic Sea and VIIj, herring acoustic surveys have been carried out since 1989. Since 2004 the survey has been fixed in October and carried out onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. The geographical confines of the annual 21 day survey have been modified in recent years to include areas to the south of the main winter spawning grounds in an effort to identify the whereabouts of winter spawning fish before the annual inshore spawning migration. Spatial resolution of acoustic transects has been increased over the entire south coast survey area. The acoustic component of the survey has been further complemented since 2004 by detailed hydrographic, marine mammal and seabird surveys.

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