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Marine Life

Ciarán has many years of experience at sea, both as an ecologist and as senior deck officer in the merchant navy.

In 1997 Ciarán began work with the JNCC's Seabirds At Sea Team (SAST), and spent the next few years surveying seabirds and cetaceans in the deep northern European waters from the Faeroe Islands and Iceland, Rockall and Western Ireland to the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay. During this time he developed skills in seabird and cetacean identification and recording, both from land and sea. He was also involved with dedicated inshore survey work during this time, adapting methods to use with a different selection of coastal and inshore seabirds.

This work also necessitated handling large amounts of survey data, as well as the production of internal and external reports..

Ciarán is very familiar with the JNCC and European 'Seabirds at Sea' (SAST & ESAS) methodologies, including association codes, and associated data entry and database (Corel Paradox) querying and data extraction.

During the 'Seabird 2000' project he assisted with breeding seabird surveys on remote Scottish islands, from the Hebridean Isles, to the rocks of Sula Sgeir and Sule Skerry, and out to St. Kilda, and became proficient in land and sea based seabird colony surveying.

In late summer 1999, Ciarán joined the Coastal Resources Centre at University College Cork, and trained surveyors in the identification of seabirds and cetaceans, and the application of (modified) survey methods. He also developed the database for use with this project. During these years Ciarán spent up to 80% of his time at sea, on various 'ships of opportunity', research vessels, trawlers, ferries and naval vessels.

Following this Ciarán spent 6 years training as a deck officer in the Merchant Navy. He gained many skills during this time, principally navigation, seamanship, and personnel management. He is fully qualified as Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, with all associated certification (eg Medical First Aid, Navigation, Meteorology, Radio Operator, Sea Survival, Small Boat Handling). As Safety Officer on board many of the vessels, Ciarán has a healthy attitude to safety issues and risk assessment prior to and while working. This time at sea also allowed him to further extend his range and depth of experience with seabirds and cetaceans in the deep seas, continental shelf, and inshore zones of northern and western Europe.

For the last 2 years Ciarán has been resident on Oileán Chléire (Cape Clear Island) in West Cork. While there he worked on the island ferry, and shellfish farm. He also spent substantial amounts of time recording seabird and cetacean movements, as well as movements of migrating land birds.





Black Headed Gull


Migrant Hawker


Common Dolphins