NUI Galway Scientists Discover New Deep-Sea Habitats in Irish Waters

NUI Galway Scientists Discover New Deep-Sea Habitats in Irish Waters-image

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Scientists from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute photographed a vertical rock face half a mile below the sea’s surface covered in bivalves and corals Scientists from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute have published the discovery of novel deep-sea habitats in Irish Waters. Published in the international academic journal PLOS ONE, their findings describe for the first time a rock face half a mile below the sea’s surface. NUI Galway Zoologist Dr Louise Allcock led the team which explored the Whittard Canyon, an undersea canyon system, using the Irish deep-water remotely operated vehicle, ROV Holland I.  The scientists discovered a vertical rock face half a mile below the sea surface, which extended upwards for about 150 metres, and was covered in a rich assemblage of bivalves and corals. “It is really unusual to see so many conspicuous animals so close together at these depths” explains Mark Johnson, Professor of Marine Environment at NUI Galway.  “The bivalves are also remarkably large, and we know that deep-water oysters of this size elsewhere in European Seas may be more than 200 years old.  So we are probably seeing an exceptionally long-lived and stable community”. The bivalves and the corals are filter feeders and are reliant on particles derived from surface waters for their food.  The researchers studied the water column to work out how sufficient food might be arriving at the site to support such a large and vibrant community. NUI Galway oceanographer Dr Martin White said “We were particularly intrigued as to how food particles might be concentrated into one particular area and we found evidence for an internal wave caused by the shape of the canyon, which could be delivering food to the foot of the wall.” Deep-sea habitats are known to play many important roles in ecosystems, including recycling of nutrients, carbon sequestration and can act as nursery areas for other species, so the scientists are keen to discover more. Remote-operated-vehicles (ROVs) have made many of these habitats accessible for the first time. This deep-sea research is guided by ocean floor mapping around Ireland’s coast (INFOMAR) and the knowledge that similar canyon systems around the world are home to the kinds of organisms likely to yield  novel pharmaceuticals; an aim of Ireland’s biodiscovery programme. Dr Allcock says “this habitat, because of its age and fragile structure is potentially extremely vulnerable to damage.  We need to establish where else it occurs and what measures are needed to protect it.” NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute was formed in 2010 by the merging of the Environmental Change Institute and the Martin Ryan Institute for Marine Science. It promotes interdisciplinary excellence in environmental, marine and energy research. It is committed to international collaboration, and a regional, national and EU sustainable development agenda. This research survey was carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. -ends-

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Famine Experts Visit NUI Galway for Two Public Events

Famine Experts Visit NUI Galway for Two Public Events -image

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

NUI Galway’s School of Humanities is hosting two public events this coming weekend on the topic of Famine, and on the Great Irish Famine in particular. On Friday, 22 November, Professor Cormac Ó Gráda, world expert on famine, will be giving a talk entitled 'Reflections on Famine'. Professor Ó Gráda is known for his work on the Irish Famine in books such as Black '47 and Beyond and The Great Irish Famine: interdisciplinary perspectives and more recently has published a general study of famines, Famine: a short history. This talk will take place in the D'Arcy Thompson Theatre in the Arts/Science Building at 6pm. This will be followed on Saturday, 23 November, by a round table discussion in which the authors of acclaimed books on the Famine reflect on the challenges of representing and doing justice to such a complex and controversial event. The featured writers are Enda Delaney, author of The Curse of Reason: The Great Irish Famine, Peter Gray, author of The Irish Famine and Famine, Land and Politics, and Ciarán Ó Murchadha, author of The Great Famine: Ireland's Agony and Sable Wings Over the Land: Ennis and its wider community during the Famine. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Ó Gráda, and will be held in the O’Tnuathail Theatre, Arts Millennium Building from 11.30am to 1pm. These events are free and all interested members of the public are invited to attend. They are part of the annual conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland which is taking place this weekend in NUI Galway. Full details are available on -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students Receive Undergraduate Awards in Four Categories

NUI Galway Students Receive Undergraduate Awards in Four Categories-image

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Four NUI Galway students received their awards at a ceremony last week, after having been announced as category winners of the Undergraduate Awards in September. The four NUI Galway students  who received their Bram Stoker Gold Medals at a special presentation ceremony in Dublin City Hall were: Marcus Byrne, who won the Ancient & Classical Studies for his paper entitled Inferring Status From Early Bronze Age Burial; Aisling Ní Churraighín, who won the Irish Language, Literature and Folklore catergory for her essay Seán Ó hEochaidh – Bailitheor Béaloideasa in Iardheisceart Thír Chonaill sna 1930aidí: Léargas ón Dialann; Khai El Baba Jones, who won the the Philosophical Studies and Theology category for his essay Faith in Kant: The religiosity of moral faith and its relation to ecclesiastical faith in Kant’s thought; and John Birrane, who won the Psychology category for his essay his essay on Is There a Need for Positive Psychology?. John’s essay not only won the Irish category for Psychology, but also won the overall international award. Dr Mae Jemison, a retired NASA astronaut who was the first African-American woman in space, delivered the keynote address at the event. The Undergraduate Awards is the only international pan-discipline academic awards programme in the world, in operation across the island of Ireland since 2009 and operating globally since 2011. It aims to recognise the best students in the world and to connect them to one another so as to encourage inter-disciplinary co-operation that also transcends borders. The awards ceremony last week was the final event of the three-day UA Global Summit, which saw the winners from both the international and Irish categories attend a series of talks and workshops, delivered by acclaimed international field experts. The 2014 Undergraduate Awards Programme is now open for registrations and submissions. You can do so here  -Ends-

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NUI Galway EXPLORE Celebrates 39 Innovation Projects That Have Brought Ideas to Life for Over 10,000 People in 18 Months

NUI Galway EXPLORE Celebrates 39 Innovation Projects That Have Brought Ideas to Life for Over 10,000 People in 18 Months-image

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The NUI Galway student and staff collaboration is also announcing the winners of EXPLORE initiative ReelLife Science; Ireland’s only School’s Science Video Competition EXPLORE, NUI Galway’s staff / student collaboration brings ideas to life. Those ideas and initiatives have engaged with over 10,000 people in the 18 months since the scheme was established as a unique, joint initiative of NUI Galway and NUI Galway Students’ Union. Those 39 ideas have seen over 2,000 primary, secondary and third level students gain new experiences; YouTube views of over 8,000 on various projects over 300 have attended social connector meetups through the work of 200 students and staff of NUI Galway. ReelLife Science, Ireland’s first Schools Science Video competition, is one of the innovations of EXPLORE, and today announces the winners (listed below) of their inaugural competition. A showcase of EXPLORE’s work will be held between 12.30 to 14.00 on Wednesday 20th November 2013 in the Bailey Allen Hall, opened by NUI Galway Vice President for Innovation & Performance Professor Chris Curtin and Students’ Union President Seán Kearns. Other initiatives include a locator app for defibrillators in the West of Ireland, bilingual video teaching aids for primary, secondary and third level students, and a mental health awareness initiative for secondary schools. Over 500 primary school students have participated in Cell Explorers science outreach programmes, around 300 people have attended Exponential social connector meet ups, while Video Lab chemistry teaching aids have already had in excess of 2,000 views. Project themes span areas including technology, the arts, outreach, the environment, health, employability, mentoring, and teaching/learning/skills development. ReelLife Science Winners (Can be seen at Secondary Schools; St. Enda’s College Transition Year student Michael McAndrew scoops first prize for his production of an animated video entitled ‘Life in Space’. The video combines a fantastic concept and cartoon style with an intelligent script, wonderful delivery and original score.  Second place; Students from St. Mary’s College in Galway who produced an imaginative film about ‘The Future for Stem Cells’. Third place; Claregalway College first year student Natasha Feery Byrne who warns of the perils of ‘Littering’ in her video. Primary School; 5th and 6th class students in Scoil Mhuire Rosmuc, a video as Gaeilge with humorous sketches about the dispersal and germination of different varieties of seeds. Runners-up; Cloghans Hill National School, Tuam with a video called ‘Germ Busters’. Third place; Junior and Senior infants of Belmont National School, Milltown, who described the ‘Five Senses’. -ends-

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Gon uige seo, Saothar Mheitheal Scríbhneoirí á sheoladh in Áras na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh

Gon uige seo, Saothar Mheitheal Scríbhneoirí á sheoladh in Áras na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh-image

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

An Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Ceann Scoile, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr a dhéanfaidh an seoladh. Seolfaidh An Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí  agus na gCultúr, leabhar nua curtha i dtoll a chéile ag Pádraig Ó Cíobháin in Áras na Gaeilge ag 7.30 i.n.  Déardaoin 21 Samhain 2013. Is é Pádraig Ó Cíobháin, scríbhneoir agus múinteoir teanga páirtaimseartha i Roinn na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh, an t-idirghabhálaí. Sé atá i Gon uige seo, diolaim den ábhar a cumadh le linn shraith ceardlanna feé stiúir Phádraig Uí Chíobháin i Seanscoil Shailearna i gCois Fharraige ó Shamhain 2010 go Bealtaine 2011. Litríocht phobail , sa chiall is leithne, dar le Ó Cíobháin, atá sa bhailiúchán seo. Deir Ó Ciobháin nach saothar éinne amháin a bhfuil fé chlúid ach saothar mheithil scríbhneoirí a chuir a gcroí is a n-éirim go huile is go hiomlán san obair a bhí idir lámha acu. An táirge seo atá mar thoradh air, ábhar léitheoireachta is spreagtha dá bpobal féin, agus do Ghaelaibh go bhfuil d’aidhm acu an teanga gur dual dóibh í labhairt, a chothabháil is a choinneáil beo. Prós, filíocht, seanchas, dinnseanchas, scríbhneoireacht taistil is araile atá sa chnuasach seo, chomh maith le cur síos ar an ileolaí Tony Christofides, scríofa ag Pádraig Ó Cíobháin fhéin. Gréigeach ab ea Christofides, atá i bpictiúir atá ceangailte le seo leis an Uachtarán Michael D. Higgins agus iad ar stailc ag deireadh na seascaidí. Fear ildánach, ileolach ab ea Christofides, a raibh idir theangacha agus mhatamaitic ar a thoil aige. Cailleadh é tamall do bhlianta ó shin. Tá an saothar seo tiomnaithe do Tony i measc daoine eile. Siad Coiscéim atá i mbun a fhoilsithe agus tá fáilte roimh chách ag ócáid a sheolta in Áras na Gaeilge.   -críoch-

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NUI Galway HPV and Head and Neck Cancer Symposium Commended at the Irish Healthcare Awards.

NUI Galway HPV and Head and Neck Cancer Symposium Commended at the Irish Healthcare Awards.-image

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Co-organiser aims to improve awareness of the role of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in cancers of the oropharynx region An NUI Galway symposium jointly organised by the Department of Economics and the Academic Department of Otolaryngology was acknowledged in the “Best Educational Meeting” category at the annual Irish Healthcare Awards. There were thirteen entries short-listed and the HPV and Head and Neck Cancer symposium received a commendation from the expert judging panel at the recent award ceremony. Professor Ivan Keogh, Director of the Academic Department of Otolaryngology at NUI Galway said “It is a real honour to have our symposium acknowledged at these prestigious awards. I am really very impressed by the extremely high standard of the activities which achieved short listing.” The symposium, held on May 17th 2013, highlighted the significant role that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) plays in cancers of the oropharynx region. Symposium co-organiser Mr. Tony O’Connor, ENT Surgeon at the Bon Secours Hospital commented: “Our next step is to bring awareness to GPs of the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer”. The symposium was funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme Grant. The HRB has also funded the development of the Economics of Cancer Research Group at NUI Galway under the auspices of Professor Ciaran O’Neill and Brendan Walsh. For more information on the HPV and Head and Neck Cancer symposium, please visit -ends-

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Professor Michael O’Flaherty describes comments by Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin as ‘deeply unhelpful’

Professor Michael O’Flaherty describes comments by Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin as ‘deeply unhelpful’-image

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Professor Michael O’Flaherty recently stepped down from his role as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission 2013 NUI Galway Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has issued a statement in reaction to Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin’s stated view on prosecutions linked to events that predate the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Text of statement; “Today’s intervention in the Northern Ireland peace process by John Larkin, as reported in the media, is deeply unhelpful.  By proposing that a line be drawn in the sand regarding pre-1998 atrocities he is defying everything that has been learned internationally on healing the wounds of conflict.  Northern Ireland needs to confront its past and not run away from it.  Unconditional amnesties can never be countenanced, and, like any other post-conflict society, Northern Ireland needs a comprehensive programme of what is called “transitional justice”. Society, north and south of the border, is suffering because of the failure to address the past.  Some of the most vulnerable in society remain at the margins, with inadequate acknowledgement of their suffering; many are dying without ever being able to share their stories of pain and loss.  There is not a day that goes by without the unresolved senses of neglect and injustice triggering societal problems. The lack of a truth recovery process means that tribal myths will continue to trump actual memory. It is not as if we do not have a decent road map regarding how to proceed.  Back in January 2009, a “consultative group on the past”, chaired by Archbishop Robert Eames and Denis Bradley published a report that proposed a carefully considered process overseen by a Legacy Commission.  The Eames Bradley report reflected the views of a wide cross-section of society and mirrored international good practice.  Just a few weeks ago, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission published its own paper that considered how best “to move towards a more integrated and holistic transitional justice policy” and called for a fresh look at the Eames/Bradley recommendations.  If John Larkin’s comments have any merit it is to have triggered media attention to a neglected aspect of the peace process.  Now the debate needs to move past his own comments and to how best to ensure truth, justice and healing for those whose lives were devastated by the Troubles.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Launch Free Advice Booklet for First Year Students

NUI Galway Launch Free Advice Booklet for First Year Students-image

Thursday, 21 November 2013

First year students at NUI Galway can now enjoy a new free booklet which gives helpful advice on low and no cost ways to take the stress out of student life. The new publication, ‘Risky Bizzness: Student Wellbeing for Successful Students’, was commissioned by the Health Promotion Service, part of NUI Galway Student Services, which aims to assist students to reach their full potential by providing non-judgemental and up-to-date information to help students make informed decisions. ‘Risky Bizzness: Student Wellbeing for Successful Students’ is based on the popular blog which mixes facts and humour to encourage students to look after their health and wellbeing and boost their resilience. A healthy lifestyle has been proven to have a positive impact on grades and on a person’s ability to deal with the stresses of study, research and exams. Like the blog, the new booklet provides information on relationships, study tips, nutrition, budgeting and much more. There are facts, ideas, contact details and also plenty of online links to articles and video clips. Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “One way to help students cope with the challenges of third-level education is to give them the knowledge they need to prevent, or to identify and address common problems. We hope that this booklet provides students with the information necessary to succeed academically and to lead full lives while at university and beyond.” Declan Higgins, Vice-President and Welfare Officer with NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, , said: “The booklet offers students very practical advice and guidance in their day to day lives and affords them a good to guide for a variety of different resources so they know where to turn when they need to.” The booklet was written Rab Fulton, the editor of the riskybizzness blog, with Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Coordinator, NUI Galway student services. For more on Health Promotion in NUI Galway visit More information on Rab Fulton is available at -Ends-

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NUI Galway Becomes First Third-Level Institution to Win prestigious Appy Award

NUI Galway Becomes First Third-Level Institution to Win prestigious Appy Award-image

Friday, 22 November 2013

App aimed at Leaving Certificate students launched in August 2013 NUI Galway scooped a major award at the prestigious Appy Awards, which took place in Dublin last night (Thursday, 21 November). The University took home a Bronze Award in the ‘Best Educational App’ category for their iPoints app, and was shortlisted in the ‘Best Productivity App’ category. The NUI Galway iPoints app is the first official third-level app designed for students to calculate Leaving Certificate points. The free app was launched in August 2013, ahead of Leaving Certificate results being released and has been downloaded over 6,000 times. The winning entries are judged on the overall strategy, campaign execution, design, innovation and results. With stiff competition within each category, NUI Galway was the only higher education institution to be shortlisted and the first third-level institution to win an Appy award. Past winners for these awards have included brands such as Vodafone, Sky, TV3, The and Facebook. NUI Galway, in partnership with former information technology student Paul Herron, developed the iPhone app. Students using the app can simply enter their results for each subject, indicating whether it is higher or ordinary level and the app calculates the number of points attained in each subject, and indicates the total. The app calculates 25 additional points to be added for Higher Maths if relevant, and allows for Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) scores to be included. Commenting on the awards, Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said “We are delighted to have done so well in such a hotly contested category. The key objective for NUI Galway was to provide a useful app that allows Leaving Certificate students to quickly and easily calculate their points when they receive their exam results.”   The annual Appy Awards celebrate the very best in app development and design. The 2013 Appy Awards received a bumper number of exceptionally high quality apps in this year’s awards programme. The NUI Galway iPoints app is available for all iPhone users on the iTunes store -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Win Best Paper Award at Top UN Electronic Government Conference

NUI Galway Researchers Win Best Paper Award at Top UN Electronic Government Conference-image

Monday, 25 November 2013

Researchers at INSIGHT@NUI Galway have been awarded the ‘Best Paper Award for Completed Research’ at the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV), which was held in Korea recently. INSIGHT@NUI Galway, formerly known as DERI, hosts the Centre for Data Analytics and is an acknowledged leader in semantic web research. The award-winning paper, ‘Harnessing the Duality of Participation - Social Software Infrastructure Design’, was co-authored by INSIGHT’s Lukasz Porwol and Dr Adegboyega Ojo, along with Dr John Breslin from the College of Engineering and Informatics. The paper describes the design and implementation of the socio-technical infrastructure required for harnessing political deliberations on social media platforms, and outlines the challenges for implementing and sustaining such an infrastructure in governments. The judges praised the manner in which the paper deciphered the area of citizen participation, translating it from art to science. In their comments they said that the paper investigated the very difficult and unbounded area of citizen participation and demystified the art of citizen involvement. The judges described the paper as a pleasure to read, thoughtfully bringing the reader through the reasoning, research and issues that need to be understood and addressed to successfully ensure citizen participation. Lukasz Porwol, the report’s lead author said “It’s great to be recognised for our work at such a high-profile conference, one of the biggest e-government events with participants from over 60 countries.” The ICEGOV conference is attended each year by major stakeholders from academia, government, the UN system and other international organisations, civil society and the private sector involved in the technology-enabled transformation of government. The ICEGOV conference series was founded by the United Nations University and involves several UN organisations in its organisation to highlight its strong UN character. -ends-

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