• Life at the edges

    22 Jun
    Life at the edges

    Dublin Science Gallery launches the Life at the Edges exhibition today exploring life in extreme environments and co-curated by Professor Andy Wheeler of the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences.


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  • Girls into Geoscience

    15 Mar
    Girls into Geoscience

    The inaugural Girls into Geoscience – Ireland event took place last Saturday March 10th at the School of BEES and was co-organised by Dr Maria McNamara of BEES and Dr Fergus McAuliffe from iCRAG.

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  • Minister for Agriculture meets IAPB team

    09 Mar
    Minister for Agriculture meets IAPB team

    The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has met with the International Association for Plant Biotechnology team at University College Cork, Ireland and has been updated on progress towards the 14th quadrennial IAPB congress being held in Dublin in August.

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  • The circadian clock sets the pace of plant growth

    19 Feb
    The circadian clock sets the pace of plant growth

    BEES academic Dr Rossana Henriques has published, with colleagues, a new paper detailiing their discovery that the members of a protein family from the plant internal clock act sequentially to limit the plant growth until the end of the night. This knowledge could help to understand how plants face different kinds of stress that affect their growth, such as drought or high temperature.

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  • Coypu in the River Lee

    23 Jun
    Coypu in the River Lee

    There has been a recent sighting of a Coypu in the River Lee. The animal was spotted from the footbridge behind the Kingsley within the past couple of weeks. 

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  • UCC Delegation Attends UN Environment Assembly

    01 Jun
    UCC Delegation Attends UN Environment Assembly

    May 27th 2016, Dr Debbie Chapman and Mr Stuart Warner from UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre, hosted by the ERI and The School of BEES in UCC, met with Mary Robinson at UNEA 2 in Nairobi to brief her on the role of UNEP GEMS/Water in the Sustainable Development Goal for water.

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  • CSI 1916: Science, archaeology and history combine in event to commemorate Thomas Kent

    01 Jun
    CSI 1916: Science, archaeology and history combine in event to commemorate Thomas Kent

    The Schools of History, Archaeology, and Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in University College Cork are pleased to announce the hosting of an event that will examine the science behind the recovery and identification of the remains of Thomas Kent, of Castlelyons, county Cork – the only one of the sixteen figures executed after the 1916 Easter Rising for involvement in armed action outside Dublin.

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  • QuERCi II

    01 Jun
    QuERCi II

    UCC scientists, as part of an international team, including Prof. Andy Wheeler (Chief Scientists) are returning form a week long survey of the Porcupine Bank Canyon, 400+ kilometres west of Galway. It is a follow up to the successful QuERCi I survey undertaken last year.

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  • Too Hot in Paradise

    19 May
    Too Hot in Paradise

    Emeritus Professor of Zoology here at BEES, Prof. John Davenport brings to our attention an article written by Dr Michael White - BEES PhD graduate and a marine zoologist in Tongareva, the largest and remotest atoll in the Cook Islands.

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  • Discovery of new habitat for corals in the Porcupine Bank Canyon

    24 Jun
    Discovery of new habitat for corals in the Porcupine Bank Canyon

    An international team of scientists led by Prof. Andy Wheeler of BEES, University College Cork have recently discovered a new cold-water coral habitat in Irish waters possibly doubling the amount of cold-water corals previously thought to exist in Irish waters, while on the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer during the QuERCi survey.

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Photography: Michael O'Sullivan

It’s telling that, when asked to share the most interesting aspects of her collaborative deep mapping project, Professor Claire Connolly refers to the ‘discovery of hidden corners’.

The most interesting stories of place are always multi-layered; combining narratives of history and human experience, and always bringing some element of the unknown to light. This is why Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures has captivated the interest and imagination of so many across Cork, Ireland and beyond.

Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures is a project which combines the research skills of cultural historians with those of marine biologists, with the aim of providing a rich and detailed portrait of the coastline from Timoleague to Bantry Bay.

By developing new ways of thinking about this area through deep mapping, the research team has cultivated new ways of thinking about place, and applied these to Ireland’s endangered marine environment.

Professor Connolly, of UCC’s School of English – Co-Principal Investigator of Deep Maps alongside Dr Rob McAllen, of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences – initially conceived of the project back in 2015, when the Irish Research Council issued a call for funding for research projects with a shared Humanities/STEM focus.

Professor Connolly leads a field trip by Drishane House.

“I had an idea — really, more an image than a worked-out concept —  that UCC researchers could develop a way of visualising the Irish coastline from the mouth of the Shannon to the mouth of the Lee, in a way that allowed us to see how science and culture combine to shape our unique island topography,” explains Professor Connolly.

With the help of UCC’s Deputy President and Registrar John O’Halloran, Professor Connolly contacted Dr McAllen to discuss a potential collaboration, to bring the idea to fruition. Backed by the funding of an Irish Research Council New Horizons Award, with additional support from UCC, Deep Maps was created.

Scaling down their project to focus on the unique maritime environment along the arc of Roaring Water Bay, Professor Connolly and Dr McAllen have worked with their research team to create an extraordinary resource that presents a rich and storied portrait of the area. This resource combines elements of art, culture, history, literature and science, spanning the period from 1700 to 1920.

While learning more about the area’s unique maritime environment appealed to the specific expertise of Professor Connolly, Dr McAllen and their team, they were particularly intrigued to discover how deep mapping could better inform discussions about Ireland’s maritime environment, and the threats it faces today.

 Stunning local flora.

“I was interested in how knowledge of the coastline developed in the period before the modern division of the disciplines - what poets, artists and natural historians had to say about West Cork,” says Professor Connolly.

“Rob sensed that cultural and artistic responses to the coastline might help overcome some of the difficulties experienced by scientists in communicating immediate dangers to this precious marine resource.

“The website finally took shape around our shared concern to shape a fuller appreciation of the West Cork coastline and to limit ongoing environmental degradation.”

If the aim of Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures is to develop new ways of thinking about place, a detailed look at this beautiful website is proof that this has been well and truly achieved.

In the interactive map of Lough Hyne, a simple click of the mouse over denoted locations reveals fascinating nuggets of information about the area’s maritime heritage, through seven themes: art, biology, environment, folklore, history, literature and music.

The research has opened up the West Cork coastline for us all."

One click will introduce you to the Purple Sea Urchin, with an accompanying entry from an 1895 issue of The Irish Naturalist – a powerful example of the unique genius of deep mapping. Several more clicks of the coloured dots scattered across the map will reveal everything from details of Famine evictions to the diverse range of marine life, and historical buildings of note in the area.

Central to the success of Deep Maps, is the interdisciplinary collaboration behind this research and impressive online resource.

“As we began to realise its contours and shade in the detail, Rob and I were very fortunate to work with an exceptional team of researchers, who brought their own curiosity-driven disciplinary knowledge to bear on the project,” says Professor Connolly.

“Project postdoctoral researcher Rachel Murphy has a PhD in History and Digital Humanities, while research assistants Sean MacGahann, Mike Waldron, Orla-Peach Power and Breda Moriarty brought expertise in (respectively) marine biology, history of art, archaeology and rural ecology.

Exploring the area around Lough Hyne. 

“Shared knowledge of, and skills in Digital Humanities and GIS (Geographic Information System) made it possible to find ways of visualising and expressing the complex forms of connection that we unearthed.”

Through engagement with schools and interested groups in the local community, Professor Connolly and Dr McAllen have been able to enrich the Deep Maps resource to give an even more detailed insight into the area’s maritime environment.

And, as par for the course with deep mapping, the story doesn’t end there. As the team begins to work on the educational outreach aspect of the project, we can look forward to uncovering plenty more ‘hidden corners’ as field studies and research continue.

“The research has opened up the West Cork coastline for us all: anyone who spends time exploring the Deep Map of West Cork developed by Dr Rachel Murphy and hosted on the project website will make new discoveries,” says Professor Connolly.

Explore the Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures website through this link.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K