Choosing a course is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make! View our courses and see what our students and lecturers have to say about the courses you are interested in at the links below.
Each year more than 4,000 choose NUI Galway as their University of choice. Find out what life at NUI Galway is all about here.
About NUI Galway
About NUI Galway
Since 1845, NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
Colleges & Schools
Colleges & Schools
NUI Galway has earned international recognition as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching across a range of key areas of expertise.
- Business & Industry
- Alumni, Friends & Supporters
At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
October NUI Galway Study Reveals Diet of Irish Small Shark
NUI Galway Study Reveals Diet of Irish Small Shark
Monday, 22 October 2018
A dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula)
Dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula), which are an abundant small shark species in Irish coastal waters, have been shown to have a very varied diet, preferring soft-bodied animals over crabs and fish, according to a new study by marine scientists at the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway. The study was published in the Journal of Fish Biology.
Previous studies which were purely based on examining what is found inside the stomach of a dogfish had described these sharks as mainly feeding on crabs and fish. In this new study, the researchers extracted muscle tissues from these sharks and analysed them using chemical tracers, called stable isotopes, to determine whether these ecologically important predators actually feed on other prey types.
Using a combined approach of novel chemical tracers and analysis of the stomach contents of the dogfish, the researchers were able to show that these small sharks feed mainly on soft-bodied animals such as sea squirts and other soft-bodied organisms. The reason crab and fish prey might have been over-estimated in the past is because these hard-bodied prey types tend to be over-represented in the dogfish’s stomach contents due to their slower rates of digestion.
Dogfish are one of the most abundant sharks and can be found from Norway down to western Africa and are common along all Irish coasts. In contrast, other species of predatory fish such as cod, are described to be on the decline due to an increase in heavily-overfished areas worldwide.
Alina Wieczorek, lead author of the study from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “It is important to know what dogfish feed on because with the decrease in commercially important fish, these small sharks are likely to become the top predators of our future coastal ecosystems.”
The researchers were able to infer from a muscle sample of the shark what it primarily had been feeding on in the preceding 200 days. This is due to the fact that some chemical tracers of elements such as carbon accumulate in different ratios in the animal’s tissue, depending on what they have been feeding on. The higher up the foodchain an organism feeds, the more carbon stable isotopes can be found its tissues.
Alina Wieczorek, added: “A vegetarian, for instance, would have less of the heavier carbon in their muscle than someone who prefers a meaty diet. So the sentence, ‘You are what you eat’ isn’t that far-fetched.”
The research article resulted from Ms Wieczorek’s undergraduate project which was supervised by Dr Anne Marie Power, and was carried out during the final year of her B.Sc. in Marine Science at
Professor Mark Johnson, the coordinator of the B.Sc. Marine Science course at NUI Galway, explains: “We feel it is important that teaching should be research-led and this is a great example of how undergraduate students can produce high quality research during their final year projects.”
This research was funded as part of the NEPHROPS project (www.nephrops.eu) by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme.
To read the full study in the Journal of Fish Biology, visit: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfb.13770
Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
16 November 2018
NUI Galway Celebrates College Awareness Week 2018
13 November 2018
NUI Galway to Stage NanoDance as Part of National Science Week