NEWS 2003





Fifth Annual Seabed Survey Seminar to take place in GSI on November 21

By now a calendar event, GSI's Annual Seabed Survey Seminar has been scheduled for November 21 at GSI offices in Beggars Bush. As usual it will be a full day seminar with a wide-ranging spread of topics. Starting at 10 am, Tea/Coffee will be served at 9.30. All will be welcome as normal and a time slot for discussion is included as a formal programme insert. No pre-booking is necessary.

10.00 Dr. Peadar McArdle - GSI
10.05 Enda Gallagher
"The National Seabed Survey: A Macro View"
10.20 Mick Geoghegan
"2003 Activities and Review"
10.40 Archie Donovan - GSI
"The IT Architecture - Problems, Updates and Benefits to Ireland Inc"
10.50 Fiona Fitzpatrick - Marine Institute
"Marine Institute involvement in NSS - Acquisition and Ancillary Projects"
11.10 Questions, then Coffee
11.40 Daniel Praeg - UCD
"Gas Hydrates West of Ireland: Theoretical Distribution and Seabed Observations"

Bob Kennedy - Martin Ryan Institute
"Sediment Profile Imagery Survey of the Porcupine: Preliminary Results"

12.20 Mike Cunningham - Southampton Oceanography Centre
"An Evaluation of along- and down-slope Processes between the Goban Spur and the Meridazek Terrace, the Bay of Biscay"
12.40 Questions, then Lunch
14.00 Sean Cullen - GSI/Dara Hayes - Rovtec Systems
"The Tidal Problem"
14.20 Shane Rooney - NUIG
"Swath Bathymetry Surveys in the Clew Bay area and around the Dillisk Rocks, 2003"

Jenny Ryan - NUIG*
"Geological Seabed Classification"

David Hardy - GSI/Trinity*
"Early Tertiary Erosion Channels in Donegal Bay"

Padraic Mac Aodha*
"Geohazards in the Porcupine Seabyte: Ref. Telecommunications Cabling"

15.05 Questions, then Coffee
15.30 Eibhlin Doyle - GSI
"The Ground-truthing Programme - Review and Results from Seabed Sampling
15.50 Xavier Monteys - GSI
"3D Visualisation of NSS data & Seabed Classification"
16.10 Therese Shryane - NUIG
"Final Cruise of the Ocean Drilling Program"
16.30 Mick Geoghegan - GSI
"Irish Newfoundland Partnership - Business Opportunities"
16.40 Questions, Public Forum and Panel Discussion

* short presentation outlining research plans, not results




2003 Survey Season Commences - 11 May

The seven-year €32 million survey of Ireland's seabed formally commenced its fourth year of data acquisition on 11 May, 2003. The Celtic Explorer, the main survey vessel over the next three years, mobilised from Galway, then Rossaveal. She began surveying at the boundary line between Irish and UK waters, contiguous to the Zone 3 area off to the north west of Co. Donegal. The Celtic Explorer is the Marine Institute's new research vessel which is now the state's main ocean research vessel. She was commissioned in Galway in April. She has been kitted out with the very latest surveying technologies, and a period of tests and corrections followed the commissioning in Galway Bay. She is due to complete five survey legs this season, each of one month duration. Between legs she will dock for 1-2 day intervals only, before setting off again. For a review of 2002 activities of the National Seabed Survey click here.




GSI exhibits at Cork Environmental Conference - 1-2 May

A function of GSI's role as manager of the National Seabed Survey is the dissimilation of knowledge pertaining to the Irish seabed to as mass an audience as possible. Thus where possible, on both an economical and practical basis, GSI will exhibit at Irish conferences to inform Irish people in particular about the survey and its rich array of benefits to the state. The 19th Annual Environmental Conference organised by the Sherkin Island Marine Station held at the Carrigaline Court Hotel, Co. Cork is an excellent forum at which to showcase the National Seabed Survey. This conference also neatly merged two GSI programme endeavours - offshore (Marine Section) with onshore (Groundwater Section) water interests. WE had a joint display and our colleagues from Groundwater Section gave a stirring talk on the potential perils of "onsite water waste from one-off houses." For further information on this conference please contact Matt Murphy at the Sherkin Island Marine Station on 028 20187.




Dr. Ray Keary - An Appreciation

Ray Keary was a respected and important employee of the Geological Survey of Ireland for over two decades. His influence there was vast and included such ancillary, but meaningful, matters as union affairs, but it is in his chosen field of Marine Science that his outstanding legacy is most evident. He launched and managed the GSI's Marine Section and virtually single-handedly extended the margins of geological research beyond the Irish shoreline.

Dr. Ray Keary RIP


For many years his was a lone voice in the identification of the importance of both national and international marine research, but his perseverance was finally rewarded in 1999 with the government announcement of a seven year funded survey of the Irish seabed. Today his legacy lives on in the form of this survey - the ongoing €32m National Seabed Survey. That legacy was recently recognised with the conferring on Ray of an honorary degree by the National University of Ireland. Beyond his retirement he still maintained close links with the GSI and offered incomparable insights and analysis into all things marine. His former colleagues will miss him greatly, but will strive to see out the National Seabed Survey in the scientifically sound manner that would meet with his approval.


For a lookback at Ray's extraordinary career click here. Ray Keary 1937-2003 RIP



GSI presents at Femme 2003, the Kongsberg Simrad users workgroup - 1-4 April

FEMME is Kongsberg Simrad's forum for Multibeam echo sounder system users. The objective of the conference was to maximize the real-life performance of Kongsberg Simrad Multibeams; in the context of the National Seabed Survey this objective is of utmost interest to GSI. The format of the conference included talks and papers demonstrating international usage of the equipment and resulting datasets, together with updates on improvements from Kongsberg engineers. GSI representatives, Mick Geoghegan and Xavier Monteys gave a presentation during the time slot accorded to national agencies and drew much acclaim for the way in which we've managed the seabed survey, being further ahead in most aspects of data acquisition than most other delegations. However, attending the conference was still beneficial on several different fronts:

  • we learned about interesting developments in multibeam technologies and discussed issues we had with the pertinent Kongsberg experts
  • we learned that we can improve how we display and present the data we are acquiring by more effective use of 3D visualisation software packages such as Fledermaus.
  • it proved a useful step in the process of improving communication channels with other international agencies and organisations e.g. the Belgians have been organising a seabed classification international grouping and we will now have a significant involvement in a forthcoming workshop.




GSI presents and exhibits at the Clew Bay Marine Forum - 27 March

GSI attended a very interesting day-long meeting in the Knockranny House Hotel in Westport on Thursday 27th March. It was an event organised by the Clew Bay Marine Forum whose overall objective is "to arrive at sufficient local consensus in order to inform the creation of a sustainable and equitable development plan for the future of the Bay." Because of the LADS survey carried out in Clew Bay as part of the National Seabed Survey in June of last year, GSI was invited to present a paper at the meeting. This we did together with the setting up of a small display at which we showcased the results of the survey. The audience seemed impressed with GSI's contribution to the proceedings and much distillation of our presentation took place over the course of the evening.




GSI exhibits at European Marine Sand & Gravel Group (EMSAGG) Conference Delft, The Netherlands - 20 February

EMSAGG is the main European forum for stakeholders in the marine sand and gravel industry - including representation from governments, Geological Surveys, legislators, environment, extractive industry, research, and consultants. Over 150 delegates attended the conference and presentation topics were wide ranging reflecting the composition of the delegates and overall demonstrating a responsible industry approach towards marine dredging. For example, Hanson, a large Dutch extractive company presented a paper showing that fish spawning grounds and ecological features identified during their work were reported and preserved. The exhibit at EMSAGG

GSI decided to sponsor the event since as the National Seabed Survey extends into shallower waters then its data may give rise to interest from international extractive industry operators.

Getting busy...... A number of papers were presented on the effect of dredging on the sea bottom and on the benthic communities. The issue of gravel extraction and dumping of sand can result in the alteration of the seabottom substrate. This can have serious affects on the benthic fauna. Speakers from the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands presented the legislative framework under which the industry operates. In general the view was that each had a framework which worked well although constantly under review and evaluation.

New regulations are currently being prepared by UK government. To a large extent this is consolidating a framework into legislation which has been in operation since 1968. Holland is also looking at their guidelines in particular the <2m depth of sediment restriction. Overall the conference was a success, highlighting environmental concerns and the issue of competition for marine use along with meeting society's needs in a workable legislative framework.

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