21 Aug Bantry Marine Research Station
BANTRY MARINE RESEARCH STATION
Sector: Seaweed nutrient capture
Bantry Marine Research Station (BMRS) has established itself as a provider of marine research with global recognition for its work and has forged a reputation in project delivery.
BMRS is located on the shores of Bantry Bay an ideal location for marine research activities in the North Atlantic Area. Bantry Bay has a great maritime history, from Napoleonic naval invasions to harbouring the Royal Navy’s North Atlantic fleet, a deep-water port for Panamax oil tankers and sheltering respite for Europe’s fishing fleet in heavy weather. Aquaculture businesses, fishing operations and processing plants supported by ship building and harbour facilities located in a pristine vibrant ecosystem all combine to make this a superb location for marine research and development activities.
BMRS undertakings have grown steadily and includes consultancy, pilot trials, co-ordination and participation in EU and National research projects.
The 2012 publication “Harnessing our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Plan for Ireland” highlights the importance of research and development to support sustainable economic growth and job creation through the development of new products and services; facilitate better management and protection of marine ecosystems; and inform policy, governance and regulation of the marine sector.
- Micro and macro algae production and analysis: BMRS is involved in several macro- and microalgae research projects. Macroalgae research is focused on the extraction and quantification of high-value bioactive compounds and applications. Microalgae are cultivated in laboratory-scale (250mL to 80L) vessels, and large-scale (>1000L) raceways. Microalgae research is centred around high-value bioactive compounds and omega 3 and 6 oil production.
- Seaweed conversion to bio-products: BMRS is using seaweed derived biopolymers to develop plastic products (shrinkable and stretchable films, adhesives, plastic additives and coatings).
- Seaweed bioactive extraction: BMRS is cultivating a brown macroalgae, Alaria esculenta, more commonly known as bladderlocks, on long-lines in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork. This species has high concentrations of valuable bioactives e.g. polyphenols, fucoidans and carotenoids. BMRS aim to carry out the structural and functional characterisation of novel macroalgal-derived phlorotannins, carotenoids (fucoxanthin) and polysaccharides (fucan) from Alaria esculenta.
- Earth Observation: BMRS has been involved in research concerning Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and satellite data. Relevant projects include ASIMUTH, OSS2015, SAFI, C-TEP and ATLANTOS. By using a combination of Earth Observation (EO) data derived from satellites and sensors, including sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll concentration and salinity, along with data collected in-situ, numerous products and services can be produced. These include services such as ASIMUTH, which progressed from nowcasting Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to forecasting HABs. This service is particularly useful to those involved in the aquaculture industry who may suffer huge losses after the appearance of an unexpected HAB in their production area. The ability to predict the onset of a HAB means that these aquaculture farmers can take the necessary steps and precautions to protect their stock.