BMRS undertakings have grown steadily and includes consultancy, commercial trials, co-ordination and participation in EU and National research projects.
The 2012 publication “Harnessing our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Plan for Ireland” highlights the importance of research and development to support sustainable economic growth and job creation through the development of new products and services; facilitate better management and protection of marine ecosystems; and inform policy, governance and regulation of the marine sector.
Micro and macro algae production and analysis
BMRS is involved in several macro- and microalgae research projects. Macroalgae research is focused on the extraction and quantification of high-value bioactive compounds and applications. Microalgae are cultivated in laboratory-scale (250mL to 80L) vessels, and large-scale (>1000L) raceways. Microalgae research is centred around high-value bioactive compounds and omega 3 and 6 oil production.
Seaweed conversion to bio-products
BMRS is using seaweed derived biopolymers to develop plastic products (shrinkable and stretchable films, adhesives, plastic additives and coatings).
Seaweed bioactive extraction
BMRS is cultivating A esculenta which has high concentrations of valuable bioactives e.g. polyphenols, fucoidans and carotenoids. Cultivation of A. esculenta is being undertaken using long lines with harvesting between April and June.
The effect of the period when the macroalgae is harvested on the concentration of the bioactives has yet to be explored. Post harvesting and prior to extraction and chemical characterisation, the macroalgal is being processed to preserve the bioactivity of the compounds-of-interest and extracted for further undertakings.
Earth Observation, GIS and Oceanography
BMRS has been involved in research concerning Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and satellite data. Relevant projects include ASIMUTH, OSS2015, SAFI, C-TEP and ATLANTOS. By using a combination of Earth Observation (EO) data derived from satellites and sensors, including sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll concentration and salinity, along with data collected in-situ, numerous products and services can be produced. These include services such as ASIMUTH, which progressed from nowcasting Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to forecasting HABs. This service is particularly useful to those involved in the aquaculture industry who may suffer huge losses after the appearance of an unexpected HAB in their production area. The ability to predict the onset of a HAB means that these aquaculture farmers can take the necessary steps and precautions to protect their stock. Another service arising from EO data was produced by the SAFI project. This project used a combination of satellite data, biological data and in-situ data, including data on environmental parameters, productivity and fish stocks, in order to ascertain suitable areas for the aquaculture of various species and the development of indicators for recruitment, abundance and maturation in small pelagic fishes and bivalves.