Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Irish Scientists Search for New Species in the mid-Atlantic

A group of Irish scientists will today lead a mission to the mid-Atlantic in search of strange new species at the bottom of the ocean.

The VENTURE mission is led by Dr. Andy Wheeler from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UCC and includes a host of scientists from that institution, along with colleagues from NUIGalway, the Marine Institute and the UK's National Oceanography Centre.

The scientists leave Galway this morning aboard the Marine Institute's research vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer. The mission is being filmed by the National Geographic Channel.

The mission will investigate life 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea and seek out hydrothermal vents using the ship's Remotely Operated Vehicle, the Holland 1.

The Holland 1 is named for the Irish scientist and inventor John Philip Holland who invented the first modern submarines. I've written extensively about Holland on this blog already.

Patrick Collins of NUI Galway says this mission will allow him to find some new marine species: "We hope to find a whole community of previously unknown species, increasing our understanding of deep sea biogeography. There is potential here to put Ireland on the global map as a serious player in deep sea science. This is all the more timely with the exploitation of deep sea and hydrothermal vents for precious metals and rare earth minerals now a reality.”

You can find more information on the VENTURE mission here.
For a Q&A on the mission, see here.
The scientists will be maintaining a blog of their activities during the trip here.
Aaron Lim, a 4th year Earth Science student from UCC is also blogging from the mission here.


Anonymous July 15, 2011 at 10:04 AM  

What an exciting exploration mission... great to see Irish scientists leading the way!

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