CPD Module in Applied Marine Biological Sampling and Data Collection

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General information

The module features four days of intensive offshore training on the national research vessel RV Celtic Voyager and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s vessel the Celtic Mist in waters south of Cork and the Shannon Estuary. Seagoing surveys are supported by three days of preparatory laboratory practicals, lectures and demonstrations in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). All other elements of the module are accomplished through distance learning using online resources. Module participants receive advanced training in ship-based Marine Biological Sampling and Data Collection, the rationale behind them and underlying legislative and ecosystem imperatives.

Topics addressed include:

  • Fisheries catch and bycatch identification and recording
  • Seabird surveying and recording methodologies
  • Visual and bioacoustic surveying and recording methodologies for cetaceans
  • Benthic bycatch sampling, recording and sample preservation
  • Collecting oceanographic data for environmental perameters
  • Data handling and storage

This intensive  CPD module is designed for graduates, researchers and marine industry and agency professionals who wish to gain practical skills and experience in offshore biological sampling and data collection.  Successful completion of assigned course work results in an award of 5 ECTS at NFQ level 9. Instruction is by key academic staff of GMIT, SMART and is supported by marine industry experts with extensive track records in the module topics. Shipboard training and supporting laboratory practicals and lectures take place from Monday 29th September to Sunday 5th of October. All other elements are accomplished through distant learning.

Module Outline (Duration 4 weeks)

  • Week 1 consists of three days of laboratory practicals in GMIT and four days shiptime divided between the Celtic Voyager and Celtic Mist off Cork and in the Shannon Estuary respectively. 
  • Weeks 2 to 4 consist of student centered distance learning concluding in the submission of project cruise reports.

To find out if this module is a good fit for your training requirements please email us at: smart@gmit.ie.

Learning outcome:

On completion of this Module you will have the knowledge to:

  1. Develop and expound rationale for observer programmes and marine biological sampling and data collection.
  2. Distinguish and identify retained, bycaught and discarded marine species.
  3. Evaluate fishing and other vessels as observation and sampling platforms for seabirds cetaceans and other megafauna.
  4. Design, implement and evaluate quantitative biological sampling and data collection campaigns.
  5. Demonstrable identification skills of catch and bycatch species in North East Atlantic fisheries.
  6. Demonstrable ability to extract, preserve and present aging, toxicological and other tissues from bycaught and discarded specimens.
  7. Demonstrable knowledge of applications and deployments of acoustic data collection instrumentation.
  8. Organise, collate and present marine biological data to required governmental and NGO data collection standards.
Contact Person: (smart@gmit.ie)


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.


Venue: The Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology)
Kilrush, Ireland

Shiptime: RV Celtic Mist of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and RV Celtic Voyager of the Marine Institute

Data elementsShannon Dolphin and Wildlife  Foundation laboratories.



A course fee of €750 is payable to lifelong learning at GMIT for participation in the module.


Module pre-requisites are an honours degree in a marine science-related discipline, participation in  postgraduate studies or research, or a significant professional interest. Places are restricted to 20 and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Application Procedure:

An application form for the module can be downloaded here or by emailing: smart@gmit.ie



Academic level: Lifelong Learning


Assessment will be based on performance in practical exercises and written assignments.

NFQ Level 9
Occupations (not validated):
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