NUI Galway Research Headlines International Conference on Marine Biodiversity

Thursday, 13 November 2008

- Scientists report major steps towards 1st Census of Marine Life - Research from the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI Galway will headline the latest report from the 2,000-strong community of Census of Marine Life (CoML) scientists from 82 nations tomorrow (Tuesday, 11 November, 2008) announcing astonishing examples of recent new finds from the world's ocean depths. As more than 700 delegates gather for the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity (Valencia, Spain, 11-15 November), organized by the Census's European affiliate program on Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning, the report details major progress towards the first ever marine life census, for release in October, 2010. Antarctic ancestry of many deep-sea octopuses worldwide Principal Investigator Dr Louise Allcock from NUI Galway, and her colleagues from Cambridge University, Queen's University Belfast and British Antarctic Survey, will report the first molecular evidence that a large proportion of deep-sea octopus species worldwide evolved from common ancestor species that still exist in the Southern Ocean. Octopuses started migrating to new ocean basins more than 30 million years ago as Antarctica cooled and large icesheets grew. These huge climatic events created a "thermohaline expressway," a northbound flow of deep cold water, providing new habitat for the animals previously confined to the sea floor around Antarctica. Isolated in new habitat conditions, many different species evolved; some octopuses, for example, lost their defensive ink sacs – pointless at perpetually dark depths more than two kilometres below the surface. This revelation into the global distribution and diversity of deep-sea fauna, to be reported on 11 November in the journal Cladistics, was made possible by intensive sampling during Census International Polar Year expeditions. Dr Allcock commented: "It is clear from our research that climate change can have profound effects on biodiversity, with impacts even extending into inaccessible habitats such as the deep oceans". In the fourth highlights report issued since the global collaboration began in the year 2000, Census scientists say their work is compiling an unprecedented number of "firsts" for ocean biodiversity: Advancing technology for discovery; organizing knowledge about marine life and making it accessible; measuring effects of human activities on ocean life; and providing the foundation for scientifically-based policies. According to Ian Poiner, chair of the Census's International Scientific Steering Committee and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science: "The release of the first Census in 2010 will be a milestone in science. After 10 years of new global research and information assembly by thousands of experts the world over, it will synthesize what humankind knows about the oceans, what we don't know, and what we may never know – a scientific achievement of historic proportions". "Dedication and cooperation are enabling the largest, most complex program ever undertaken in marine biology to meet its schedule and reach its goals. When the program began, such progress seemed improbable to many observers". -Ends-

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New €22m Sports Centre Officially Opens at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

One of the most successful road cyclists of our time Mr Seán Kelly will today (Friday, 7 November, 2008) officially open the new €22 million Sports Centre at NUI Galway. The state-of-the-art facility is available to students, staff and the general public. The 6,500 sq.m. sports and leisure complex includes a 25 metre 6-lane swimming pool with moveable floor, squash and racquetball courts, a three-court basketball hall, multipurpose studios, a substantial gym and a high-tech climbing wall. The NUI Galway Sports Centre is part of a €400 million capital development programme, 'Campus of the Future', to provide the highest standards of physical infrastructure to support excellence in teaching and research. The President of NUI Galway, Dr James J Browne commented: "The opening of the Sports Centre represents a milestone in the history of NUI Galway. This state-of-the-art complex will make a significant contribution to the health, well-being and education of our students and staff and underlines the central role sport plays in life at NUI Galway". Funding for the new facility came partly from the student body at NUI Galway, who voted in 2003 to increase their student levy to support the project. Student membership rates are significantly discounted for this facility. Atlantic Philanthropies made a major capital grant towards the project, arranged through Galway University Foundation. The official opening takes place just days after student athletes at NUI Galway received over €100,000 in scholarships to help them to continue to develop their sporting excellence. A previous recipient of such scholarships, NUI Galway medical student and Olympic athlete, Paul Hession, welcomed the elite facilities: "This is a fantastic new facility for NUI Galway and will transform the range of sporting opportunities available to students here. The new elite sports gym, in particular, will provide excellent training facilities for professional sports people like myself". The building incorporates significant 'green energy' initiatives giving it a relatively low carbon footprint. Technology used includes a Combined Heat and Power unit, generating electricity for the facility and recycling the heat for re-use in the building. The team that worked on the building project included world-renowned architects Faulkner Browns, in conjunction with Holohan Design, and local builders Glenman Corporation. The facility is operated by Kingfisher Fitness Group who already run six successful leisure centres across the country. To contact the NUI Galway Sports Centre call 091 570 800 or email For further information visit -ends-

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Chicago Irish Project Allows Students Work with Older Immigrants

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

NUI Galway has partnered with the 'Chicago Irish Project', an initiative designed to improve the quality of life for Irish-born older adults living in the Chicago metropolitan area. Students from NUI Galway's M.A. in Social Work will be offered the opportunity to carry out their work placement in Chicago, supporting older Irish people who may be vulnerable, feel isolated or live alone. Representatives of the Chicago Irish Project will be in Galway from 18-19 November to meet with students and staff of the M.A. in Social Work. The full-time master's degree is run over two years and includes two 14-week fieldwork placements, which can be undertaken in Ireland or in selected sites in South Africa and the US. The metropolitan Chicago area is home to a very vibrant group of Irish born older adults who are dedicated to the preservation and celebration of their Irish heritage in America. While the most visible older adults benefit from social networks formed through existing cultural centers, the growing concern is for the unmet needs of older people who may have limited mobility, or may have lost those social connections. The Chicago Irish Project was established by the Chicago Immigrant Support Center in conjunction with Wellsprings Personal Care, the Chicago-based private home care company. Marguerita Mc Govern is Practice Learning Co-ordinator on NUI Galway's M.A. in Social Work: "The work placement element of the M.A. is a critical part of the course and we like to choose the best partners possible for our students to work with. There has been a long synergy between Chicago and Galway, which was formalised in 1997 when the two became twinned cites. The fact that NUI Galway social work students can now support older immigrants in Chicago, by casework and groupwork methods, will be of huge benefit to all involved". By visiting Galway, the Chicago Irish Project also hope to raise awareness of the project in the West of Ireland, in an effort to reach out to people living in the region who may have elderly relatives in Chicago. -ends-

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'Wittiest Political Journalist in America' to Speak at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

'The Politics of the 2008 Election: How America Has Changed' NUI Galway Law Society will host American political commentator and columnist Mark Shields on Thursday, 20 November, for what promises to be an informative and entertaining evening. He will deliver an address entitled 'The Politics of the 2008 Election: How America has Changed', at 8pm in the Cairnes Theatre, NUI Galway. Named by the Wall Street Journal as the 'wittiest political journalist in America', Shields will share his opinions of the 2008 election, the victory of President-Elect Barack Obama, and his past experiences in a career spanning eight presidents. Mark Sheilds has worked as a political analyst on 'News Hour with Jim Lehrer' for nearly two decades and appearing frequently as a commentator on CNN. In 1979, he began writing his column on national politics for The Washington Post, a column which is now distributed nationally. Peter Mannion, the current Auditor of the Law Society at NUI Galway, met Mark Shields when he spent the summer as an intern for Barack Obama: "Meeting Mark Shields was one of the high lights of my summer in Washington. He offers a unique insight in to American politics with his wealth of experience and hilarious wit. It promises to be a great night at NUI Galway". Peter was in the US as part of the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership (WIP) which is sponsoring Mark Sheilds' visit to NUI Galway. WIP brings outstanding university students from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to Washington DC for summer internships and leadership training. Students gain valuable practical experience by completing internships in US government, media, business and non-profit organisations. Over 380 students have participated in the WIP program since its foundation in 1995, including 12 students from NUI Galway. Mark Shields is also the author of On the Campaign Trail, a narrative account which documents the 1984 presidential race. Prior to becoming a journalist, Shields worked on a number of political campaigns including Robert Kennedy's campaign in 1968 where he acted as Kennedy's California State Director. In 1988 he contributed to the political coverage that won a Peabody Award for 'The News Hour'. He has also provided election analysis for CBS and NBC. For further information on the event contact Louise Hamilton of the NUI Galway Law Society, on 086 0734033 or email -ends-

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Knowledge Management Expert from Harvard Speaks at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Business and knowledge management expert Professor Larry Prusak, of Harvard Business School and Babson College, will be in NUI Galway for a public lecture on Thursday, 20 November. Entitled 'The Future of Knowledge', the lecture will be hosted by the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway in conjunction with InterTradeIreland. The event takes place at 6pm in Room CA118, 1st Floor, Cairnes Building, NUI Galway. Larry Prusak is a leading authority on Knowledge Management and has authored six books in the area. He was the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Knowledge Management, a global consortium engaged in advancing the practice of knowledge management. Professor Prusak's lecture will look at the organisational roles, design processes, incentives and strategies that work best for knowledge management. He will address changes that are taking place globally which put a premium on knowledge for organisations and nations. In particular, he will focus on the impact of the break-up of the monopoly on 'useful' knowledge that was held by the US and Western Europe for the past century, and the concurrent extreme drop in information transaction costs brought on by the IT revolution. Professor Prusak will discuss how these two movements have changed the way we need to think about how wealth is created and how work is organised. According to Willie Golden, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway: "Knowledge, how it flows and how it is managed, has a huge impact on organisations and on society. While we all understand the word economy, as Ireland seeks to become a 'knowledge economy', there is still much to be understood about knowledge. Professor Prusak can provide us with insights into how current organisational models might be changed to harness this knowledge more effectively". Professor Prusak has been studying knowledge and learning in organisations for the past two decades. He has extensive experience in helping organisations with their information and knowledge resources, these organisations include Novartis, McKinsey, NASA, World Bank, and the United Nations. For further information or to confirm your attendance, please email or telephone Angela Sice on 091 492817. -ends-

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