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Trinity College Dublin

Sustainable blue economy

Nessa O’Connor, Andrew Jackson, Quentin Crowley & Patrick Bresnihan

Global food security and reducing our reliance on fossil-fuel based energy sources are two of the largest challenges we face as scientists and a society. As an Island nation, we are poised to tackle such challenges building on our ocean wealth but our rudimentary understanding of the processes that underpin the functioning of our marine environment are limiting our ability to harness that wealth. A further challenge is to understand how marine ecosystems will function under changing environmental conditions. This information is essential to accurately predict our capacity to produce bioenergy, food and biomaterials from marine organisms (e.g. seaweed, shellfish). We have experience leading multidisciplinary projects that have produced science-based management plans for aquatic resource management and addressed specific industry needs for the sustainable development of our coastal resources with particular expertise in seaweed and bivalves.

Key discoveries to date:

  • Developed methods for cultivating seaweed for biofuel
  • Management strategies to improve yields of bivalves (mussels, oysters) production
  • Designed monitoring tools for implementation of EU environmental legislation in coastal ecosystems