2017 Short Call Projects

[Please note that final reports have been redacted to remove staff, financial and sensitive information. Some file sizes have been reduced to allow easier uploading/downloading, higher quality files are available on request. Supplemental information is also available on request in most cases.]

Lead Applicant: Prof Laurence Gill    |   Host: Trinity College Dublin 

Project Title: Submarine groundwater discharge from the Burren plateau into Galway Bay

Project Description: Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) constitutes an important pathway for contaminant transport into the coastal environment predominantly in karst areas. However, locating and determining the source of a suspected submarine discharge is a challenge. While there are abundant studies on the detection and quantification of SGD, there are remarkably few attempts that actually trace the origin of SGD from the onshore catchment using (artificial) tracers.
This proposed study will design a tracer method to study SiGD and SGD applied in the catchment of Bell Harbour, Burren, to be executed along the current research project “Characterisation of diffuse recharge into karst aquifers using chemical and numerical modeling techniques” conducted in the framework of ICRAG until September 2019. Current findings of this projects proved the existence of deep conduits >130 m below sea level that appear to be active carrying water from the catchment offshore into Galway Bay. The exact locations shall be determined, using both insoluble (solid) tracers, (i.e. floating tracers small enough to pass through the main conduits and large enough to detect them on the sea water surface/on the shore) and common artificial soluble tracers such as fluorescein and/or rhodamine to be detected using highly sensitive fluorometers.



Lead Applicant: Dr Eoghan Holohan  |   Host: University College Dublin 

Project Title: 4D Quantification of Salt-related Sinkhole Development and Migration

Project Description: The development of sinkholes (‘dolines’) is a global geo-hazard. These 1-500 m diameter depressions commonly form by slow or sudden subsidence of rock or soil into underground cavities or fissures, and are linked with groundwater-induced dissolution of limestone, gypsum or rock-salt. In Ireland, several thousand sinkholes exist in limestone areas, but take many millennia to develop. In the Dead Sea region, several thousand sinkholes have developed in rock-salt in the last 35 years, due to an anthropogenically-forced decline of the sea-level. The Dead Sea region is thus the world’s foremost ‘natural laboratory’ for understanding the development of sinkhole populations. The proposed research comprises the first comprehensive spatio-temporal investigation of the many hundreds of sinkholes of the eastern Dead Sea. An MSc student will be trained to quantify the spatio-temporal, morphological and volumetric development of sinkholes there by analyzing high-resolution satellite and aerial images and by generating detailed three-dimensional images of the sinkhole area. This will yield new insights into bulk dissolution rates and related kinetics. The student will also undertake analytical hydrogeological modelling of links between sea-level decline and lateral migration of sinkhole development. Strategic project goals include the enhancement of Irish human capacity and international reputation in geo-hazards research.



Lead Applicant: Dr Deirdre Lewis  |   Host: SLR Consulting 

Project Title: Investigation of Irish Carboniferous Palaeokarst for CO2 Geological Storage & deep geothermal resources

Project Description: This seed project will identify deep drilling targets for CO2 geological storage and geothermal energy resource assessment onshore Ireland. Karstified reservoirs within Tournaisian and Visean carbonates of the Campine Basin in Belgium comply with the depth and safety restrictions for geological CO2 storage (Laenen 2004). The hottest spring waters in Britain emanate from palaeokarst in the Carboniferous Limestone near Bath (Adams et al. 2017), and thermal springs in Ireland are likely to flow through deep karst conduits (e.g., Blake et al., 2016). There is abundant evidence from quarries, outcrops and boreholes of Palaeozoic palaeokarst in Ireland (pers. comm. Jones and Kelly, 2017). This project will compile, map, quantify and assess evidence of presumed ancient karst features in Ireland based on quarries, deep mines, borehole records, seismic data, and known uplifted structural blocks. The final deliverable will add additional GIS layers to the existing SEAI Geothermal Play Fairway Analysis Project which is a guide to deep drilling targets for enhanced porosity and permeability at depth onshore Ireland. It is a further development of the Play Fairway Analysis Methodology and Toolkit for deep exploration onshore Ireland, leading to a demonstration deep drilling project.




Lead Applicant:  Dr Shane Regan  |   Host:  Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: Iso-Mech (Development of a national groundwater isoscape for mechanistic recharge estimation and bacterial fingerprinting)

Project Description: In recent years, the concept of “isoscapes” has been used to describe spatiotemporal stable isotope distributions within natural environments including groundwater systems at multiple scales. They have effectively improved our understanding of the complex interactions between hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. Precipitation isoscapes drive isotopic patterns in surficial waters, however, less is known about the geological influence of recharge processes on stable isotopes in the subsurface. A recent study of the oxygen-18 (δ18O) groundwater isoscape in Ireland found that δ18O composition is primarily driven by location with respect to prevailing wind direction and annual precipitation volume, with a bias towards winter recharge. Results also indicate that local/regional (hydro)geology exerts a secondary influence via infiltration/recharge mechanisms. However, the study was limited by the absence of deuterium (δD) measurements and temporal data; seasonal monitoring is necessary to confidently discern temporal patterns, while δD is required for quantification of evapotranspiration (δD excess). The proposed study (Iso-Mech) will seasonally analyse δ18O and δD from spatially distributed groundwater and rainfall stations to i) improve our understanding of precipitation origin, evaporative effects and estimated recharge rates, and ii) use results to conservatively trace bacterial (E. coli) ingress mechanisms with respect to the Irish groundwater environment.



Lead Applicant:  Dr David O'Connell  |   Host:   Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: Fluorescence-based tracking of particles from domestic wastewater treatment system plumes discharging to springs in Karst aquifer systems.

Project Description: Particulates can play a significant role in the transport of microbial contamination in karst water, however significant knowledge gaps exist addressing the movement of domestic wastewater treatment system (DWTS) (>500,000 DWTSs in Ireland) effluent through networks of fractured rock conduits in aquifer systems enabling extensive transport well beyond the source. Karst aquifer systems are prone to particulate contamination within conduits with long travel distances. While there are abundant studies on the detection of contaminants in karst groundwater, few studies actually address transport of DTWS particulate contaminants to karst springs.
This proposed study will investigate the significance of DTWS particulate contaminant transport to karst springs and design a fluorescence based “early warning detection” technique based on flow regimes and associated pollutants using fluorescence excitation emission matrix (EEMs) and parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) analysis. This project will run concurrently to the research project “The impact of on-site wastewater effluent on karst springs” which is part of the iCRAG research portfolio until 2020. Preliminary results show successful use of non-conventional tracer techniques at other karst springs which will be integrated in this project into adaptive management strategies using advance fluorescence techniques to protect Karst water resources under population growth, changing climate and land use.



Lead Applicant: Dr Quentin Crowley  |   Host: Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: An All-Ireland Geogenic Indoor Radon Map

Project Description: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which can accumulate indoors and result in an elevated risk of developing lung cancer. Globally, radon exposure is the second highest cause of lung cancer, resulting in tens of thousands deaths annually. Ireland has some of the highest levels of radon in Europe and eighth highest of 29 OECD countries.
The EU Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM defines strategies to reduce exposure to ionising radiation. The directive must be transposed into national legislation by 2018, where it is expressly mentioned that radon exposure has to be addressed in National Action Plans. Predictive models of indoor radon exist for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but these have not used a common approach. This proposal will utilise datasets currently held by the GSI, GSNI, the EPA and EA and invigorate north-south research collaboration. This development / demonstration project will almost double the number of georeferenced indoor radon measurements available in the Republic of Ireland and integrate these with the NI dataset, thereby providing over 86,000 measurements. Novel logistic regression methodologies will be utilised, resulting in the first all-Ireland geogenic indoor radon risk map, informing local councils and government agencies on radon prone areas.




Lead Applicant: Prof Mike Long  |   Host: University College Dublin

Project Title: Distribution and engineering properties of the interglacial deposits in Cork City and Harbour

Project Description: This project will develop an understanding (at a 3D level) of the distribution and engineering properties of the interglacial (Gortian) stiff clay deposits in Cork City and Harbour. In parallel a map of the top of bedrock in the study area will be developed. The project will reassess the existing data in the Geological Survey of Ireland database and make use of data available at Arup, UCD and UCC. Software, with add-ons developed by Arup will be used to derive the required 3D models. Such models clearly advance the quality and value of geological data recording and usage. Given increased urbanisation, a 3D understanding of the engineering behaviour of deposits is essential for the safe and economical design of civil engineering structures. The research question posed is valid, well defined and has direct relevance to Irish industry. It is intend that this project will lead towards proposals for projects under iCRAG or for EU Horizon 2020 type projects. The project will provide a Master’s level education to a civil engineering or geology graduate.



Lead Applicant: Prof Peter Croot  |   Host: NUI, Galway

Project Title: Building on Tellus: Preliminary Investigations into Geochemical Processes occurring in Connemara Blanket Bogs.

Project Description: The blanket bogs of Ireland are amongst the most celebrated land features of the country, appearing in prose, poem, photo and song and resonate strongly in the social and cultural heritage of the land. Blanket bog landscapes are biologically diverse and are increasingly becoming valued for eco-tourism but their sustainable use is a balance between traditional practices (i.e. turf cutting), industrial use (i.e. wind farms) and the ecosystem services they provide. The Irish government has recognised the importance of the sustainable use of Peatlands through the publication in 2015 of the National Peatlands strategy. However a critical knowledge gap exists regarding the (bio)geochemistry of these peatlands. To address this issue, we propose a preliminary study into the (bio)geochemistry of the Connemara blanket bogs building on the recent Tellus survey of this region to develop a framework for studying the (bio)geochemistry of these ecosystems. In this context we will focus on 3 aspects of blanket bog geochemistry: (i) Redox cycling of coloured and fluorescence dissolved organic matter (CDOM/FDOM) (ii) Role of organic matter and redox in the distribution of pH sensitive metals (e.g. Fe, Al, Ti, U) in peatlands. (iii) 222Rn release from blanket bogs.



Lead Applicant: Prof Frank McDermott   |   Host: University College Dublin

Project Title: Geological GHG Emission Mitigation: A preliminary investigation of crushed basalt as a soil amendment to sequester atmospheric CO2

Project Description: Six plot-scale (16m2) field experiments with adjacent control plots will be established to evaluate the
efficacy of crushed basalt as a CO2 sequestering soil amendment for a range of soil types and conditions. The aim is to understand the optimal conditions for accelerated near-surface silicaterock weathering by adding crushed basalt in a range of field conditions and by measuring the increase in dissolved elemental fluxes, compared with adjacent controls. Silicate weathering consumes protons from carbonic acid in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2, releasing Ca2+and Mg2+ ions into solution and producing a shift to higher pH, favouring bicarbonate ion formation. These ions are transported via runoff, shallow soil flow and land-drains to rivers, ultimately to provide an enhanced thermodynamic drive for oceanic carbonate precipitation (permanent carbon storage).
This project will evaluate the rates of basalt weathering as a function of soil type and land use to determine if weathering rates can be accelerated sufficiently to consume atmospheric CO2 on short timescales. Co-benefits of using basalt as a soil amendment (partial avoidance of CO2 emission from the use of Aglime, increased oceanic alkalinity, enhanced availability of P and other critical plant nutrients) will also be investigated.



Lead Applicant: Dr Jonathan Turner   |   Host: University College Dublin

Project Title: Reconstructing the late Quaternary history of the River Nore using OSL dating

Project Description: This proposal seeks to acquire funding to implement fundamental geoscience research in Quaternary geology. The research project addresses an under-researched area in the Quaternary in an Irish context: fluvial geomorphology. Using the River Nore as a case study catchment, we will implement established techniques in palaeoflood hydrology to assess the development of the floodplain-channel system and evidence of past extreme flooding events, beyond recorded datasets. Advanced geochronological techniques will be applied to date the flood sediments, namely optically stimulated luminescence dating, which has hitherto not been applied to Irish fluvial sediments, generating a novel methodological contribution.
This project falls under the remit of the GSI research strategy, addressing the second challenge, “Risk Mitigation for Geological Hazards”. Floodplains are vulnerable areas, and potentially hazardous to those who live and work along river banks. Using methods in palaeoflood hydrology to interpret geological evidence, this research will generate a more thorough understanding of flooding hazard in a lowland river catchment, generating data on the frequency of such events in the geological past. The outcomes will generate impacts in two of the three key areas of the GSI Research Programme: Knowledge and Education; Society and Public Policy.



Lead Applicant: Prof Nancy Riggs  |   Host: Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: Detrital zircon geochronology in the west of Ireland in support of Tellus geophysics interpretations

Project Description: Tellus geophysical surveys are providing a wealth of new information about the tectonic amalgamation of Ireland. This proposal requests funds to complement new Tellus data and interpretation with a zircon geochronology program to study successions in Mayo and Connemara.
We present here three research goals, all of which will use interpreted Tellus data: (1) a test of the age and history of a proposed suture between Ordovician Clew Bay Complex ophiolitic rocks and Dalradian supracrustal rocks; (2) a test of the provenance of rocks in the South Connemara Group, which has implications for sites of gold mineralisation; (3) a test of terrane amalgamation through understanding Silurian rocks that cover tectonic sutures. The greatest impacts of our work will be in scientific discoveries, demonstration of methods that add value to collection and interpretation of Tellus geophysical data, and through training a TCD undergraduate in research methods.



Lead Applicant: Dr Sean McClenaghan  |   Host: Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: Resolving the Paragenesis of Precious Metals in the Avoca District: Implications for Late Orogenic Gold at Kilmacoo, Co. Wicklow

Project Description: Lower Palaeozoic volcanogenic massive sulphides in the Caledonian terrane of southeast Ireland offer an ideal setting for the study of complexly-deformed mineral deposits, where geochemical zonation and mineral textures are discernible through the overprinting effects of orogenesis. The effects of syn-metamorphic deformation on sulphide assemblages are important for the concentration of ore resources, resulting in structural thickening and attenuation, as well as possible secondary mobilization and enrichment from later orogenic fluids. Sulphides in the Avoca District exhibit both cataclastic and fluid-assisted plastic deformation textures, and recrystallization (coarsening) in response to variable lower to middle-greenschist facies metamorphism. This has also had an effect on mineral chemistry, with the re-equilibration of major elements in sphalerite and arsenopyrite, and the heterogeneous distribution of trace-elements across multiple phases of pyrite. Advancements in micro-analytical techniques now allow for detailed trace-element mapping of sulphide phases (pyrite), which can reveal much of the complex interplay between fluids and mineral growth, resolving the mineral paragenesis for metamorphosed VMS deposits. With the siting of precious metals in the Avoca deposit and Kilmacoo Au occurrence not fully discerned, this study aims to characterize the form and distribution of gold to assess the extent of syn-tectonic enrichment during the Caledonian Orogeny.



Lead Applicant: Dr Audrey Morley  |   Host: NUI,Galway

Project Title: Investigating abrupt interglacial climate change: A palaeoceanographic investigation of warmer than present environments

Project Description: It has long been hypothesized that enhanced high latitude warming may lead to an abrupt slowdown
of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which in turn would severely impact climate in the Northern hemisphere including Ireland. However, to this date there are no paleoclimate or modelling studies that can confirm this hypothesis for warmer than present environments. This gap has led to large uncertainties when estimating the variability of the AMOC in the Future. Here we propose to investigate whether the enhanced warming recorded during warmer-than-present interglacial periods at 325 and 405 kilo annum (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 9and 11) caused abrupt climate events associated with a slow-down of the AMOC. Specifically, we will assess the impact sustained warming in the Arctic (e.g. melting Greenland Ice Sheet) has on North Atlantic Deepwater (NADW) formation and flow variability, which are crucial components of the AMOC and our climate. To do so we will employ two state of the art palaeoceanographic techniqueson a high resolution marine sediment core. The proposed research and expected scientific discovery  presented here will provide much needed evidence to reduce uncertainties associated with estimating the likelihood of an abrupt climate event to occur in the Future.

Report - embargoed, July 2019

Lead Applicant: Dr Seamus Coveney  |   Host: EnvoGeo Environmental Geoinformatics

Project Title: Intertidal Feature Mapping from Sentinel and Drone (INTREPID)

Project Description: A combination of Satellite and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) imagery and UAS Digital Surface Model (DSM) data is proposed for detailed intertidal mapping. The potential for intertidal zone features to be automatically and semi-automatically recognised from Sentinel 2 multispectral imagery and very high-resolution UAS (drone) data will be examined. ESA Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, Sentinel-2 and SNAP Toolboxes and contemporary desktop image processing and classification toolsets will be used to undertake intertidal zone feature recognition. Shoreline definition modelling will be derived from Sentinel-2 image series, utilising recently published SHOREX algorithms developed by the research co-applicant. Very high-resolution intertidal zone feature recognition and shoreline extraction modelling will be carried out using existing GSI UAS (drone) imagery and UAS DSM data. Feature recognition will be carried out using 3D feature recognition algorithms that have been recently developed and tested by the lead applicant. Strong applied research impact is envisaged, including the development of feature recognition algorithms and tools which would provide the basis of larger proposals that optimise the applied research potential of ESA products. Direct peer-reviewed research impact potential is anticipated in the intertidal application of Sentinel-2 data, the evolution of Sentinel-2 shoreline extraction models, UAS-DSM shoreline modelling and feature recognition approaches.



Lead Applicant: Dr Eve Daly  |   Host: NUI, Galway

Project Title: Geophysical remote sensing of subsurface properties for sustainable agricultural management

Project Description: This proof of concept project will start by integrating airborne and ground geophysics with remote
sensing to access surface and subsurface permeability variations over a Teagasc Agricultural Catchment which is covered by existing Tellus data, in the context of agricultural management. The project will explore the best methods to then upscale to Water Framework Directive scale catchments and the tools and international collaborations needed to build a functional land
management tool for the sustainable management of agricultural intensification envisioned in Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025.
This multidisciplinary proposal is aligned with three Short Call research themes 1) Geophysics, 2) Groundwater Resources and Protection 3) Quaternary Geology of Ireland. The project will develop a new research programme covering hydrogeophysics, soil science and catchment science building on expertise gained in the 2007 Griffith Geoscience Award to NUIG and develop the recent collaborations between Teagasc (Ireland’s Agricultural and food development authority) and NUIG and the Geological Survey of Ireland.



Lead Applicant: Dr Ivan Lokmer |   Host: University College Dublin

Project Title: Surface wave removal from seismic reflection data using seismic interferometry

Project Description: While there are seismic techniques which make use of surface seismic waves in imaging the
subsurface, there are also those where these types of waves are considered coherent noise. Important examples where the surface waves may significantly degrade the obtained images include different types of reflection seismic surveys (shallow surveys for engineering, environmental and groundwater investigations, and deep surveys for imaging hydrocarbon
reservoirs). In a strongly heterogeneous medium, the conventional methods for attenuating these surface waves (such as f-k “velocity” filtering) often do not give satisfactory results. Here we propose a short study, where we investigate the best practices for the surface wave removal by using the advances in seismic interferometry. Specifically, we will cross-correlate the seismic signals from different receiver gathers in order to produce the surface wavefield between the receivers in
question. When the surface-wave gathers are produced for the whole survey, they can be adaptively subtracted from the recorded shot gathers. Apart from the obvious benefit for the applied geoscience community in Ireland, the positive outcome could serve as a pilot study for a bigger enterprise partnership programme focused on interferometric imaging of complex media, relevant for the hydrocarbon, environmental and ground-water studies.



Lead Applicant: Dr Paul Doherty  |   Host: Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions Ltd

Project Title: Scour Potential Evaluation of the Western Irish Sea Mud Belt (SCOPE)

Project Description: Ireland can potentially exploit its offshore wind resource as a sustainable source of clean energy.
However, reliable designs must be provided that minimise the environmental impact. Scour is the process of seabed erosion due to the imposed shear stress generated by seabed current and/or waves and has been identified as a key geological feature of the Irish Sea that could have a constraint on engineering activities (Mellet et al., 2015). The presence of seabed obstructions, such as wind turbine foundations, typically result in localised increases in current velocities and induce scour. Local scour can have a significant impact on foundation design and may impact on habitat conditions. Therefore, it represents a significant geological hazard from an environmental and engineering perspective. The SCOPE project will conduct a scour assessment for the Western Irish Sea Mud Belt; an area that has been identified for offshore wind development and which supports
Nephrops fisheries. A significant amount of data that has been gathered for the region will be analysed to identify the potential for scour occurrence. The aim is to establish a geological baseline applicable for future engineering and environmental studies. Guidelines and recommendations for future scour assessments will support sustainable offshore wind development


Lead Applicant: Dr Joan Campanya   |   Host: Trinity College Dublin 

Project Title: A new digital database of Ireland’s electromagnetic fields to mitigate against Space Weather

Project Description: As society becomes increasingly dependent on renewable energy and electricity, reliability of electricity supply and electric infrastructure is key to national development. One challenge associated with becoming more dependent on electricity is the potentially catastrophic effects of Space Weather, or solar storms, which can severely damage electric infrastructure. There is a pressing need to accurately model the electromagnetic (EM) fields caused by large solar storms which interact with the Earth’s subsurface geology and form geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) that cause damage to ground-based infrastructures. We propose to collect new long-period EM data to assist in a better understanding and modelling of Ireland’s EM fields. We will create a digital database containing key information for modelling and monitoring EM fields caused by solar storms, such as: 1) EM time series; 2) Tensor relationships between the electric and magnetic fields; and 3) a three-dimensional electrical resistivity model of Ireland’s lithosphere. The database will be made publically available in EPOS and GSI, and will complement current research projects in TCD, mitigating against effects of solar storms in the Irish power network, and DIAS, understanding geological and physical processes of Ireland’s lithosphere.



Lead Applicant: Dr Martin Moellhoff  |   Host:  Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Project Title:  Development of the Hekla volcano real-time seismic monitoring network, HERSK

Project Description: In this project we will develop HERSK, the HEkla Real-time Seismic monitoring networK. Hekla is one of the most active and dangerous volcanos in Iceland and currently erupts about every 10 years. The next Hekla eruption is considered overdue and could be hazardous to air travel. During the last major eruption in 1947 the volcanic plume reached a height of about 30km. Hekla is seismically surprisingly quiet, resulting so far in a dangerously short pre-eruption warning time of only around one hour. Although the volcano is currently monitored with several seismometer and GPS installations, the nearest seismic station is about 4km from the summit – too far away to detect microseismicity. We propose a new method of installing seismometers with real-time data transmission directly on top of the volcano, a logistical challenge not yet achieved due to harsh near-summit winter conditions. This will lower the detection threshold of seismic events significantly. The result will be a better scientific understanding of the processes driving the evolution of pre-eruptive seismicity at Hekla and a substantial improvement in early warning capability. All data will stream in near real-time to the seismic data centres in both the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and DIAS.



Lead Applicant: Dr Mary Bourke |   Host: Trinity College Dublin

Project Title: Coastal platform geology, classification and roughness

Project Description: Platforms are erosional landforms found on rocky shorelines. They provide important ecosystem services and are significant components of Ireland’s coastal systems. Data suggest that platforms slow rates of coastal retreat by attenuating wave energy and protecting the coastline cliffs from direct wave impact. Knowledge of the lithology, surface morphology and roughness of Ireland’s platforms will improve understanding of the response of Ireland’s coastline to future climate change. The proposed work builds on a previously funded GSI short call project that 1. Produced a map of Irelands coastal platforms; 2. Proposed a new classification for platforms and 3. Tested wave attenuation across a shore platform during summer and winter conditions. The proposed research will:
1. Map the lithology of Irish coastal platforms using existing national geological data and the map of coastal platforms produced form a 2015 funded GSI short call project.
2. Field test the Bourke et al, 2016 classification of coastal rock platforms by applying it to seven platform sites around Ireland’s coastline.
3. Quantify the roughness of seven coastal platforms classes using UAV image data to build DTMs
The proposed work falls clearly under the GSI coastal mapping and Geohazards theme.



Lead Applicant:  Dr Siddhi Joshi  |   Host: NUI,Galway

Project Title: Modelling maerl habitat dynamics in response to increased storminess

Project Description: Rhodolith (maerl) beds are unique, relatively rare, free-living, non-geniculate coralline red algae
forming biodiverse habitats and dense biogenic debris beaches. These beds provide hard habitat for other marine algae on their surface and for invertebrates living on and in the rhodoliths. This one year field research project investigates the response of offshore maerl beds and maerl debris beaches to storminess. Specifically, the morpho-sedimentary evolution of maerl beaches over timescales of seconds (swash dynamics) to months (seasonal weather) will be measured using a
suite of integrated, multi-disciplinary field and laboratory methods based on hydrodynamic modelling, bathymetric and topographic mapping, and groundwater fluxes. The experiments will utilise results from previous research (Griffith Geoscience PhD research of lead applicant SJ). The impact of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios on the regional hydrodynamic model will be made to quantify possible impacts of climate change on maerl. Using XBeach, an open-source numerical model with a domain size of kilometres, on the time scales of storms, outputs will be compared with nearshore-beach DEMs derived from UAV surveys (water and land), and supplemented with baseline INFOMAR LiDAR data from Greatman’s Bay. This project will integrate oceanographic observations (waves, currents, tide) to compliment habitat mapping.


Lead Applicant: Dr Jean O'Dwyer  |   Host: University of Limerick

Project Title: Groundwater Risk App for Local Evaluations (GRAppLE)

Project Description: Private groundwater sources in the Republic of Ireland currently provide daily drinking water to an
estimated 750,000 people, with recent Irish research reporting that groundwater users have an increased risk of enteric infection from waterborne pathogens. However, due to the dispersed, decentralised and ubiquitous nature of private wells in Ireland, appropriate monitoring, maintenance, and remediation is both complex and financially prohibitive via a “Top Down”
approach. Accordingly, a “Bottom Up” approach, whereby individual custodianship is facilitated, will aide in safeguarding public health at the household level. This project will utilise existing Irish data on microbial ingress to groundwater coupled with mobile device technology to develop a Groundwater Risk App for Local Evaluation (GRAppLE). A simplified risk model will be created to provide a risk assessment equation for use with GPS tracking and a “fetch and entry” function. Using user-derived data and publically available shapefiles/databases, GRAppLE will narrow the gap between laboratory science, social engagement, and “pocket technology”, thus representing the first, holistic device application that provides a live source-specific risk assessment to private well users in Ireland. By putting science in the publics hands, it is believed that public stewardship will be promoted, thus safeguarding both public and ecological health.



Lead Applicant: Dr Pierre Arroucau / Prof Chris Bean  |   Host: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Project Title: Determining a new earthquake local magnitude scale for Ireland

Project Description: In this project, we will investigate the seismic wave attenuation characteristics of the Irish
crust and determine a new local magnitude scale for Ireland. We will utilize the large number of available waveforms recorded at both permanent and temporary seismic networks in the past ten years to measure maximum Sg/Lg amplitudes and associated instantaneous frequencies at all recording stations for the more than 200 new seismic
events we recently detected from template waveform cross-correlation. A new software will be developed to simultaneously invert for amplitude decay parameters, station corrections and magnitudes. The inverse problem will be solved by means of a
Bayesian, transdimensional inversion scheme that will allow distance dependent attenuation to be considered and accounted for. The new code will be made available to the seismological community, and the new local magnitude scale parameters will be used for routine magnitude determination at the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN). Attenuation characteristics obtained for Ireland will be compared to those previously determined for Great Britain, and the outcome of this work is also expected to help design future induced seismicity monitoring procedures in Ireland.


Lead Applicant: Dr Laia Comas Bru   |   Host:  University College Dublin 

Project Title: Developing a toolkit for model evaluation using speleothem isotope data

Project Description: Speleothems (cave carbonates) provide highly resolved records with the potential to reconstruct
past changes in mean regional climate and climate variability on annual to millennial timescales.
Some climate models now explicitly include isotopic tracers, and thus the isotopic records from speleothems can be used directly for model evaluation. There are 500+ published speleothem records covering part or all of the last 21,000 years and beyond. However, only 7 speleothems are included in the standard Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP) benchmark dataset.
To address this issue, the applicant recently obtained sponsorship from PAGES (Past Global Changes) to create a Working Group, the objective of which is to synthesize the 500+ speleothem records available globally and to develop a public-access database that will feed the next round of CMIP6-PMIP4 simulations and eventually the next IPCC report. Such a database (the first for speleothems) can also be used to refine our understanding of regional changes in climate forcings
through time, which is crucial in model evaluation.
One of the applicant's interests is to use this dataset to assess if speleothem records can improve model performance through data-assimilation techniques with a view to submitting further grant proposals to support her future work



Lead Applicant: Dr Gavin Duffy   |   Host: Realsim

Project Title: The development of the CoastSim platform: a virtual coastal landscape time travel experience exploring landscape evolution

Project Description: CoastSim will allow users to virtually explore Ireland's coastline, past, present and future
within detailed 3D environment simulations. To be developed as a public facing platform, it will aim to engage and educate the public on the theme of the dynamic ever changing coast.
For this project, CoastSim will visually present the story of the evolving coastal landscape from the last ice-age to the present on two pilot study sites, in Dublin Bay and at Grange, in Co. Sligo. The simulations will shed light on the influence of geology, glaciation, climate change and the arrival of man on their shape and form. The simulations will also offer an opportunity to travel forward in time and present various scenarios on how the coast could look in the future based on rising sea levels, coastal erosion and man's efforts to control it. The simulations will be produced by combining a customised game engine with high resolution terrestrial and marine mapping data (bathymetry, drone and OSi aerial mapping), populated with graphical content (glaciars, ancient forests and changing sea levels). Offline and online versions will be produced. The slightly simpler online version, CoastSim Lite, will be produced using WebGL (Web Graphics Language), ensuring maximum public reach,
whilst the offline version will be available at Grange Armada visitor centre and ensure that the graphical possibilities are pushed to their limits without the restriction of browser and end user machine limitations.


Lead Applicant: Dr Paul Quigley  |   Host: Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions Ltd

Project Title: Development of a Toolkit to Manage AGS Data for Geotechnical Usage (TAGS)

Project Description: The Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists has specified the AGS data format
to ensure the reliable transfer of site investigation data between industry organisations. The aim of the AGS data format is to ensure data compatibility between various hardware or operating systems employed by organisations who wish to transfer ground investigation data, laboratory test results, as well as monitoring data. Despite these efforts, there appear to be compatibility issues arising from the use of AGS data within the geotechnical and geoenvironmental sector in Ireland. The
Geological Survey of Ireland has identified compatibility issues associated with the use of AGS data when uploading site investigation data to the National Geotechnical Borehole Database. In addition, geotechnical design consultancies have encountered various problems when using AGS data in conjunction with geotechnical management and drafting software. The TAGS project will conduct a desk study to evaluate the incompatibility issues associated with AGS data and to explore a variety
of solutions. In addition, a preliminary toolkit will be developed to process AGS data for use with existing software and the online National Geotechnical Borehole Database. Options for increasing the use of AGS data in Ireland will be explored.