Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ALGAEIRE (Management and conservation of freshwater habitats: developing expertise on freshwater algae in Ireland)

All the objectives were achieved although the research objectives had be modified due to the departure of a key member of the phychological section at the Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) who was the only phychological sector staff member involved with molecular work. The objective of training phychological sector staff in the taxonomy, identification and ecology of freshwater algae was achieved by running formal training courses and though informal training. Three five-day training course were organised and run by the Marie Curie (MC) fellow at the MRI and a total of 47 people attended these courses including 5 phychological sector staff. These courses were aimed at broadening and developing the skills of the phycology group staff and those from institutions in Ireland and overseas. MRI staff who attended the two courses held during the first year were able to assist organising and running the course held in the second year. Informal field excursions with staff of the phychological sector also provided training opportunities as well as laboratory sessions identifying and photographing field collected material.

The objectives to establish a strong research group who would be capable of running undergraduate / graduate-level courses and supervising a research programmes on freshwater algae were achieved through the following collaborative work.

a. Long-term changes in algal flora
A comparative investigation of 14 freshwater loughs commenced in September 2006 and was completed in January 2007. The modern findings were compared with surveys of these loughs carried out over a century earlier by William and George West. The findings of the comparative investigations were presented at two international meetings and involved input from Dr Ciaran Loughnane and Dr Fabio Rindi before his departure. The findings were published in 2009 as a chapter entitled 'Long-term changes in the desmids of Western Ireland' (by John, Williamson and Loughnane) in a' Practical guide to the Desmids of the West of Ireland' (see below).

b. Clare island survey
Another comparative investigation of long-term changes involved a modern investigation on of the algae of Clare island and then comparing the new information with the findings of surveys conducted in May 1909 and 1910. Two members of the phychological group (Dr Fabio Rindi and Professor Michael Guiry) were involved in the modern algal surveys and co-edited with the MC fellow a book entitled a 'New survey of Clare island'. The MC fellow contributed several chapters and the book was published in September 2007 by the Royal Irish Academy.

c. Identification guide to the Desmids of the west of Ireland one of the principal achievements was to leave a lasting legacy and this was achieved by the MC fellow and a desmid specialist (David Williamson) researching and publishing a guide to the desmids of the west of Ireland. Much of the information in the book has not been published previously and the user-friendly guide includes keys, diagnostic descriptions and illustrations to almost 500 desmid taxa - many discovered during the course of the study. The book was published in January 2009 by the Martin Ryan institute, NUI, and Galway and is printed as well as distributed by Koeltz scientific books (full reference: John, D.M. & Williamson, D.B. 2009: 'A practical guide to the Desmids of the West of Ireland'. Martin Ryan Institute, NUI, Galway. 196 pp. (includes 49 plates).

d. Checklist of Irish freshwater algae an excel spreadsheet of all freshwater algae recorded from the Irish Republic (excluding Cyanobacteria and Diatoms) has been prepared by the MC Fellow, Prof. Michael Guiry and David Williamson. The original list has been refined and it now only deals with desmids although coverage has been extended to all of Ireland (now includes Northern Ireland).

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