Skip to main content


Corals, fin whales, calm seas and some serious science…

20 Aug 2022
A happy SPeeD scientific crew chilling alongside one our Little MonSta "Charlotte"

Jess Harty wraps things up with our final of three blog posts from our most recent research survey

We’ve just disembarked in Galway after an eventful survey where we managed to collect some valuable data and memories to last for ever. For my first time on a research vessel with state-of-the-art equipment and highly professional scientists and crew, I am walking away with an experience of a lifetime with inspiration and motivation for a future studying the unexplored depths of our Earth. 





Perfect surveying weather, it doesn’t get better than this out on the high seas





During our time at sea, we successfully retrieved two multi-sensor landers (Little MonStas) from the ocean floor named after our very own president President Higgins and an icon of this era, Beyonce. Both landers hosted ADCPs which give us unique insight into the deep ocean floor environment, 1000m deep. Following retrieval of President Higgins and Beyonce we replaced them with two more landers named after legends of equal importance; Apollo who needs no introduction and Charlotte named in memory of Charlotte Appah, a colleague’s mother, who tragically passed away to COVID last year. We attached the Ghanaian symbol of Gye Nyame (God), a symbol of importance for the Appah family, to the lander. Charlotte’s deployment was a very special and emotional deployment for the scientists on board. 

Apollo and Charlotte are fitted with new sensors made specifically for this survey (see headline image). These sensors will provide us with even more information of the seabed environment to allow elaboration and further insight into the processes occurring at such depths. When these landers are retrieved next year a wealth of information will allow us not only to understand our oceans better but also how to protect these unique environments from effects of climate change. This deployment should provide conductivity, temperature, density, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and sediment flow data. 

Another successful mission included collecting plankton and coral samples to identify the level of pollutants absorbed. Microplastic analysis of the water column can be carried out when we return to shore from the collected samples. Alicia our Environmental Scientist is focusing her postdoc on this area as explained in the previous blog. 

What a wonderful experience and I hope to come back next year to collect the landers and see what they discovered…




A view from insight the ROV shack. 







To close off the trip on our way to Galway, passing the breath-taking Blasket Islands on the coast of County Kerry a phenomenon occurred. Finn whales and dolphins came out to play, and there were loads of them! They danced and pranced as the sun set and the full Sturgeon moon rose simultaneously. We couldn’t have asked for a better send off. 

Jess Harty (soon to graduate from UCC) and inspired by ocean research. 

Marine Geosciences Research Group

University College Cork

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, North Mall Campus, University College Cork, North Mall, Cork City, T23 TK30