Want to have a species named after you? Read on…

RV Celtic Explorer

This summer, as part of the Vents & Reefs (VENTuRE) expedition, marine scientists from University College Cork (BEES/ERI), the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, Geological Survey of Ireland and University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre in the UK, are heading to the mid-Atlantic ridge in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to check out a newly discovered hydrothermal vent ecosystem.

Here, at a depth of almost 3000 m, the Marine Institute Holland I ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) will be sending images to scientists at the surface onboard the RV Celtic Explorer of a whole new world. This new ecosystem is such an exciting discovery that National Geographic will even be there to film the whole experience.

Dr Andy Wheeler (BEES/ERI), UCC has been appointed chief scientist on the Venture campaign.  There too from UCC will be Professor John Gamble, Dr Jens Carlsson and Professor John Benzie. (See http://bit.ly/iOLQkI). Also participating will be Patrick Collins, a researcher with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway.  Patrick has organised a very exciting competition for second level students in Ireland.  Over the course of the 25 day cruise, he and the other scientists on board will be collecting and identifying many previously undiscovered and animals.  As part of this competition one of these could end up with your name on it!

Patrick says “This is an extremely important discovery, and one that we think people will be very excited about.  We are asking for secondary school students across Ireland to use their imaginations and understanding of the sea to design their own deep sea creature.  We’d like to see carefully thought out illustrations along with a description of the creature’s habitat, diet, life and evolutionary history, and whatever else you think is important.  One lucky winner will actually have one of the new species that we discover at the vents named after them.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”

This competition is open to all secondary school students across Ireland. Entries must contain at least one clearly labelled, hand-drawn or computer illustration accompanied by a separate A4 page (max 400 words) containing a comprehensive description of the creature’s name, its habitat, diet, etc.  Completed entries should be posted to: Sarah Knight, Ryan Institute, Orbsen Building, National University of Ireland, Galway.  Competition deadline is June 3, 2011.  Full competition details are available at http://www.ryaninstitute.ie/education-outreach/outreach/vents-reefs-competition/

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