One of IWDG Consulting’s surveyors, Darren Craig, is currently onboard the R.V. Celtic Explorer during the mackerel egg survey along with William Hunt of UCC – MaREI (Centre for Marine & Renewable Energy, Ireland). They are recording any sightings of marine megafauna encountered throughout the survey, including cetaceans (whales & dolphins), seals, turtles, sharks and other large fish such as sunfish and tuna. You can find out what they have seen so far on the scientists at sea blog:
IWDG Consulting are partners of the ObSERVE project. The goal of the project is to “provide robust scientific knowledge with respect to protected species occurrence and ecology along the Irish Atlantic Margin”. The project is divided into two complimentary contracts: ObSERVE-Acoustic (https://www.observe-acoustic.ie/) will carry out acoustic monitoring along the shelf edge while ObSERVE-Aerial will carry out aerial surveys of the same areas (see www.observe-aerial.ie).Here is a short video on the first SAM deployment…..
IWDG Consulting has just finished implementing MMO requirements at Dingle Harbour was completed last week with demolition of an old slip and dredging of the inner harbour completed ahead of schedule. The client was the DAFF through BAM Engineering and took 3 months including 12 hour days running up to Christmas. This follows recent completion of dredging works in Crosshaven, Cork for the Royal Cork Yacht Club and monitoring piling activities in Cobh for the Port of Cork.
One of the last strandings of 2015 proved to be one of the more interesting. A
whale reported by a number of locals in west Clare turned out to be a juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale. The whale measured 3.7m and was a female. Cuvier’s grow up to 5-7m in length with no differences between males and females.
A post-mortem carried out today by the IWDG showed it was sexually immature and very thin so probably died of starvation. Cuvier’s are found inhabiting deep-water along Ireland’s western seaboard and are not a coastal species. The whale was very fresh and could even have been live, or certainly, recently died on stranding. Samples were taken for genetics, contaminant and stable isotope and biotoxin analysis. The intestines and stomachs were removed to see if there are any food remains (Cuvier’s typically eat squid) and hopefully to determine whether there are any micro-plastics present (IWDG recently collaborated on a study of microplastics in True’s beaked whales which showed surprisingly high concentrations.
Cuvier’s beaked whales have been recorded undertaking the deepest and the longest dives ever documented for any mammal. This study used satellite-linked tags to track Cuvier’s beaked whales off the coast of California and found the animals dove up to 2,992 meters (nearly two miles) below the ocean surface and spent up to two hours and 17 minutes underwater before resurfacing.
Last winter there were a surprisingly large number of Cuvier’s beaked whales washed up in Ireland and Scotland. While it is known Cuvier’s are sensitive to acoustic trauma there was no clear indication of the cause of last winters mass strandings and no repeat recorded this winter so far. A three-year study into beaked whales and other deep-diving species off the shelf edge of Ireland has just completed its first field season see:
As ever, these strandings give us insights into the ecology of the rarest and least known whale species in Irish waters.
The IWDG have been successfully tendering for consultancy contracts since 2007. We feel we have the expertise and people to provide a good service and all the profit from this consultancy provides essential funds to the IWDG such as the sightings and strandings schemes. The IWDG believe in collaborating with companies, government departments and agencies as well as building capacity and engage with researchers, students and the public. IWDG have been very successful in obtaining funding for consultancy projects but retain an independent voice and are not compromised in our attempts to identify threats and conservation issues. In order to achieve our goals and develop the consultancy we have decided to formally establish IWDG Consulting.
Some of Irelands leading cetacean experts carry out professional services for IWDG Consulting and have access to the most up to date long term stranding and sighting databases as well as access to state of the art equipment. We provide a wide range of services from field based surveys to desk based assessments which can be used to inform Natura Impact, Environmental Impact and Strategic Environmental Assessments as well as prepare Marine Mammal Risk Assessments. If you have a project which requires our services, you can contact us by email or by phone: email@example.com/0857331251 (Enda)/0868545450 (Simon).