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 brown macroalgae, Alaria esculenta, more commonly known as bladderlocks, on long-lines in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork. This species has high concentrations of valuable bioactives e.g. polyphenols, fucoidans and carotenoids. BMRS aim to carry out the structural and functional characterisation of novel macroalgal-derived phlorotannins, carotenoids (fucoxanthin) and polysaccharides (fucan) from Alaria esculenta.
BMRS will also explore the temporal evolution and drying techniques on the biosynthesis of these bio-active compounds, leading to improved extraction methods and knowledge of the best harvesting period. BMRS principal premise is that long-line macroalgal cultivation coupled with characterisation analysis will allow for the identification and quantification of these bioactive for their potential in pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical applications. In vitro antimicrobial assays will be performed targeting specific microbes important in animal health with a focus on agents that cause diseases such as sub-clinical mastitis. Antioxidant assays will also be carried out to assess the bioactives for potential use as anti-inflammatory agents.
The three year project is funded by the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
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.
Cleaner fish (Lumpfish production)
BMRS imports Lumpfish eggs from Norway and Iceland, hatches and on-grows them. Once at commercial size (approx. 15g) they are ready for deployment to salmon farms for use in sealice control. Techniques and capabilities that have been implemented over the last number of years. Egg importation and incubation,
Hatching - Weaning - On growing - Grading - Vaccination - Transportation
Further development will focus on native Irish broodstock development and post-delivery management.
Sea Urchin Hatchery and on growing
BMRS has been at the forefront of Sea Urchin Development having spent 5 years refining hatchery protocols and capability and developing grow out system and undertaking diet trials and gonad conditioning work. Sea Urchin production is now being commercially scaled.
BMRS operates its own licensed seaweed farm and is currently growing Alaria esculata for use in bio resource elucidation in conjunction with BIM.
Fish Disease Experimental Unit
BMRS has extensive experience conducting fish disease trials on viral, bacterial and parasitic agents. BMRS has been involved in research investigating alternative treatments for amoebic gill disease (AGD) N. perurans and sea lice L. salmonis in conjunction with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and VetAqua International.