Marine renewable energy (MRE) will undergo a rapid expansion in Ireland over the next 30 years with fixed wind turbines in depths of less than 50 m the most likely technology to meet short to medium-term energy goals. Irish maritime waters are home to a rich diversity of megafauna (e.g., cetaceans, seabirds, and elasmobranchs) including populations of international importance. Given the potential scale of developments, there is a need to understand impacts on sensitive marine species since uncertainty around MRE impacts on populations is likely to be a major impediment to consenting of offshore wind developments. The CETUS Post-Doctoral Researcher will collate data pertaining to megafauna and the wider foodweb from national institutes and agencies, into a database to support a comprehensive multi-species modelling approach to determine the environmental drivers of distributions, behaviours, and movement patterns (e.g., foraging hotspots, common migration patterns) of sensitive species and determine spatial and temporal overlap with existing and planned MRE installations. The Post-Doctoral Researcher will deploy 60 satellite tags and 40 acoustic tags on targeted elasmobranch species (thornbacks, blondes, flapper skate, tope and porbeagles) and will support other biotelemetry studies using satellite tagging equipment on seabirds and passive acoustic recorders for cetaceans to close the identified knowledge gaps on selected at risk species.
MaREI is a key research centre within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is an internationally recognised Institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The MaREI Centre is an SFI funded research centre headquartered in the ERI and includes 13 other Universities and Third Level Institutes from across Ireland, has 50 industrial partners and has accumulated research funding of approximately €60m. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the climate, energy and marine spaces. MaREI is also funded by SEAI, EI, EPA, ERDF, EU, HEA, Marine Institute, DCCAE and IRC, as well as through contributions from our industry partners. Researchers in the MaREI Centre have over 30 years of experience in conducting fundamental and applied research supported by competitively won national and international funding, and commercial contracts with government agencies and industry. MaREI’s strengths lie in the multi-disciplinary nature of its research teams, allowing it to combine insights across areas such as MRE Technologies, Materials & Structures, Observations & Operations, Coastal & Marine Systems, Bioenergy, Energy Policy & Modelling and Renewable Energy Management.