DCU Students Survey the Irish Sea for Plankton

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DCU Students from ED8032 Environmental Systems: the Marine Environment set out early to survey the Irish Sea (Bay of Fingal) ploughing a path from Malahide marina to Rockabill on board the PV Fionn Mac Cumhaill (skippered by Pat Grimes of Skerries) an 11 metre Redbay rib with twin Yamaha ME422 engines (fully insured and P3 license from the Department of Transport).

 

Once out of the estuary, water samples and plankton sample were taken every 5-minute intervals (GPS pinned) till arriving at Rockabill.  The return journey took the party to Lambey to study the currents before arriving back in Malahide.

 

The samples were returned to DCU science laboratory on St. Patrick’s Campus for short-term storage, sorting, enumerating (using haemocytometer/microscope)  and analysis of microplastics within tissues/cells of plankton (Nile Red staining).

Results will be published in the next issue of the MARINE Project report, due out in 2020 which is disseminated to Fingal County Council and local schools in east Fingal.

In 2020, we expect to broaden the surveying to bottom sampling with marine dredge, sediment/mud sampling in the estuaries themselves and continue with water and plankton sampling.

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