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Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training – Spring 2013

Students from Cork, Limerick, Dublin and Galway attended a two day training course given by the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) Sea School in association with MESTECH.

SMART is a marine science partnership programme which provides training offshore on board research vessels for third level undergraduate and postgraduate students. A training course was held in association with the Marine and Environmental Sensing Technology Hub (MESTECH) who provided sensor based training on board the vessel.

Students were provided with hands-on experience of sensor platforms by Dr Timothy Sullivan of MESTECH, and of sensor moorings by Dr Sheena Fennel of NUI Galway.

Demonstrations on the practicalities of deploying moorings were shown to students. An in-depth description of some of the pitfalls when deploying moorings and an outline of events to be considered provided students with an excellent grasp of the preparation and deployment stage.

Marine ICT students had to battle extreme weather conditions in other to gain hands-on experience with tasks carried out on board the Celtic Voyager during a survey. Students were observers on day 1, but were required to carry out their own survey in relation to a range of disciplines on day 2. This included adopting the brief of a benthic ecologist, geologist, and oceanographer. Students were required to carry out a variety of tasks which included taking grab samples from the sea surface, deploying a CTD sensor, taking concentrated phytoplankton samples, and monitoring the output of a multibeam and side scan sea surface profiling system.

Students were provided with significant training over the two day course with expertise across a range of disciplines. The training team included experts from Oceanography, Fisheries, Sensors and Moorings, Geology, and Benthic Ecology, providing students with a well-rounded knowledge and understanding surrounding the processes and considerations in carrying out an environmental monitoring survey. On the final day students were required to get into teams and pitch their own survey, along with carrying out the monitoring tasks they had observed on the previous day.

MESTECH would like to acknowledge the support of the SMART team led by Paula McGrane and John Boyd. and also the support given by Sheena Fennell and Paul Gaughan from the Marine Institute.

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Students and trainers at the recent SMART training

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