Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Starter note


A quick note to get you and me started........

If you've found this blog it's possibly because of the biodiversity tag and your interest in the subject. If so, then I'm hoping that the next 10 or so weeks of my witterings will be worth your while following :-)

Ireland, the United Kingdom and much of the rest of Europe has coastal defences consisting of engineered concrete structures designed to hold back seas or absorb their energy as they crash against the coast. It's understandable, we have homes and industrial property on coastal areas for many reasons and we would like to keep them if at all possible.

In producing structures such as piers, jetties, causeways, harbour walls and breakwaters there is considerable disturbance caused to the marine flora and fauna that inhabit not only the area that is built on but also the immediate surroundings. Following this, what is normally left behind is a smooth, concrete ediface on which much marine life doesn't want to live.

Marine ecological engineering is a burgeoning branch of science that combines the research of marine scientists with the expertise of marine engineers. The aim is to produce new forms of artificial coastal defences that are designed in a manner that encourages recolonisation by the disturbed community of organisms that inhabit the area and in doing so increase the level of biodiversity that currently encompasses these structures.

I'm a part of the marine science research protion of the equation. For the next ten weeks I'll be involved as an intern in the zoology dept. of the National University of Ireland, Galway whilst a new experiment is born on the causeway to Mutton Island in Galway Bay, Ireland to determine part of the best way to incorporate artificial concrete rock pools into new defence structures and so provide space for life to proliferate. In order to compare the results with existing artificial and natural substrates in the local area I will also be conducting biodiversity surveys along the Galway Bay coast.

May I be up to the task and may you enjoy the journey.


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