Project Status - Active
Start Year: 2008
End Year: 2012
Funding Body: HEA
Geographic Area: Ireland
Local Study Area: SW Ireland
Project Co-Ordinator: Oonagh Dwane NUIG
CMRC Contact: Michelle Cronin
Project Website: http://sealtrack.ucc.ie
BioTomp is a study using a top marine predator as a means to collect data on oceanographic parameters in coastal waters in Ireland. It contributes to a larger project on environment and climate change under the PRTLI4 funding mechanism. Sophisticated tagging devices are deployed on seals in SW Ireland. The tags incorporate temperature sensors and collect oceanographic data (e.g. water temperature data) and test the hypothesis that instrumentation deployed on seals can distinguish between the characteristics of different water masses. These data are used to validate ocean/climate models developed by PRTLI4 project partners at NUIG and contribute to our understanding of climate change.
The tags also collect information on the seals movements and behaviour and provide an understanding of habitat use of these key species. Understanding the processes driving the foraging ecology and dynamics of these top marine predators is necessary to enable us to use them as indicators of environment and climate change. Hotspots of space use by seals in Irish waters are also being identified in order to quantify the overlap/competition between top marine predators and human resource utilisation/extraction e.g. fisheries, oil and gas exploration.