The Costs to Disrupting Biodiversity & Other Planetary Boundaries: A study of Anthropogenic Impacts on Coastal Ireland


Week 1

So, this is my first trip to Europe and I am super excited! I am working with Coastwatch Europe, which is an NGO based out of Trinity College Dublin that is concerned with the health of the Irish and European coastal zones. I want to thank Lindsay Ortega and Joseph Dorsey for recommending Coastwatch as an internship for me. I will be helping Coastwatch with their annual survey of the Ireland coastline that takes place between September 15th and October 15th. The survey will be looking at the litter, biodiversity, and water pollution from nitrates (fertilizers) on the coasts as well as any other degradation that may be present such as development or destruction of dunes, etc.

I am really lucky that there is already another intern here to show me the ropes. Her name is Christine and she is an environmental science major. She has already been to Ireland a few times and has really helped me learn the city and the public transportation in and around Dublin

Malahide Beach

The first week I was here I visited Malahide beach. Malahide is located about 30 minutes north of Dublin and has an amazing coastline with dunes and rocks and lots of seabirds. We set off from Dublin and rode the train, called the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), to meet up with one of the regional coordinators for Coastwatch in order to survey a 500 m section of the beach at low tide so that I could start to learn the process.

Christine and I going over the Coastwatch Survey

Shells collected from Malahide Beach

Shells that we collected from Malahide Beach during our survey.

Michael and I performing a Nitrate test

Michael and I performing a Nitrate test. All clear.

Fieldwork is Definitely my favorite thing to do because I get to go to the beach! However, sometimes you also have to do things you don’t really enjoy while interning. A lot of my time is spent writing emails, booking survey units, and packing up mail for our volunteers. So, I really cherish the time I get to spend outside.

Bulloch Harbour

My first field experience with my supervisor, Karin Dubsky, was at Bulloch Harbour just south of Dublin. We completed the Harbour form questionnaire which was pretty much the same thing as our other survey with just a few different questions about litter. I was very surprised by how nice the staff were. They answered all of our questions and were very helpful. We also performed a water clarity test with a secchi disk. This test helps determine if there may be any extra nutrients in the water. I feel like in the United States we would have gotten a lot of backlash for asking the questions we did. The most notable thing we saw was a lack of garbage bins, lots of litter, and an invasive Japanese seaweed.

Bulloch harbour

Bulloch harbour

Christine and Karin. Cold and Windy

Christine and Karin. Cold and Windy

Japanese Knotweed on a Seccihi Disk

Japanese Knotweed on a Secchi Disk

Howth Harbour

The next day we set out to Howth Harbour just north of Dublin. This was my first experience driving on the other side of the road. I was nervous at first but got the hang of it fairly quickly. While at Howth we noticed again the lack of garbage bins and lots of litter in the rocks surrounding the harbour.

Howth Harbour

Howth Harbour

Howth Harbour

Howth Harbour

Driving on the other side for the first time

Driving on the other side for the first time

Haole Shaka

Haole Shaka

Malahide Castle

My first day off (Saturday) I traveled to Malahide Castle with Christine and her roommate. This castle was in the same family for over 800 years and is one of the oldest castles in Ireland. There are beautiful gardens on the grounds of the castle that we walked through.

Malahide castle

Malahide castle

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Garden and greenhouse at Malahide Castle

Garden and greenhouse at Malahide Castle

Garden Groupie

Garden Groupie

Pretty Flowers in the Gardens

Pretty Flowers in the Gardens

A Church in Malahide

A Church in Malahide

Birding at Sean Moore Park Dublin Bay

On my second day off (Sunday)I walked  about 8 miles roundtrip with the hopes of seeing a Peregrine Falcon, a rare visitor to Florida but a local resident of Dublin. This species was facing extinction due to the use of pesticides like DDT. I didn’t manage to see the Peregrine, but I did see a lot of other birds, most notably a Harrier, a type of raptor that also lives in Florida. I also saw a lot of other birds, but the weather conditions made it hard to take pictures. So far my bird list is up to 25 species in just a week.

A Blue Tit @ Sean Moore Park

A Blue Tit @ Sean Moore Park

Swallows escaping the wind on a power line,

Swallows escaping the wind on a power line

6 comments

  1. hprievo · September 24, 2015

    Great pictures, and interesting work. I wish I had more field work involved in my internship, but hopefully will get that experience down the road. I am so curious as to what questions made an appearance on the surveys and would love to know why the US would discourage them. But I guess you can keep your secrets 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • pbrady813 · September 25, 2015

      Hi Holly,
      The main questions were are there collection containers for: oil, oil filter and oily rags, Fishing gear, Paints and solvents, batteries, drink containers, fish offal (guts), food waste, sewage. Is there a waste management plan. All of our questionnaires can be found at http://www.coastwatch.org

      Liked by 1 person

      • hprievo · September 25, 2015

        I will definitely check that out, then. And I can see what you mean about suspicion in the states.

        Like

    • pbrady813 · September 25, 2015

      I just feel as if the people in the US are so suspect of anyone coming around and asking questions for fear of getting shutdown.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. xiaominliu · September 25, 2015

    Finally saw your blog!!! 🙂

    Jajaja!!! It seems like every intern did some “extra” works during their stay. But I am so glad you have the opportunity to join in the fieldwork and project !!!

    Also, it is awesome to meet some friends there and do the things you like, like surfing and see the beaches.

    You definitely show your surfing pictures for us next time!!!

    And thank you for your earlier help 🙂

    I really enjoy reading your blog…clear, simple and “Freaky Awesome” 🙂

    Xiaomin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrick Brady · September 25, 2015

      Xiaomin i’m saving that for week 2

      Liked by 1 person

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