Oceans offer opportunities for sustainable economic development but human activities are threatening marine ecosystems and sustainable maritime activities. The EU has taken up this challenge by establishing an integrated maritime policy which emphasises a “European Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research”. The research aims are to improve the understanding and the predictive capacity of marine ecosystems’ response to a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors, while fostering innovations to make the most of sea resources. The Ryan Institute’s mission for Marine research is aligned with these broad aims.

Research into the marine environment of Irish coastal waters has a long history at NUI Galway, with strong early inputs from the old Departments of Zoology, Botany, Oceanography, Microbiology and the Applied Geophysics Unit. A Marine and Coastal Processes thematic research area encompasses research on Coastal Biogeochemical Processes, Ecosystems and Human Health, Marine Pathways, and the Changing Coast, and contributes to our vision for clean, healthy, safe and biologically diverse seas.


I am primarily interested in the evolution and ecology of cephalopods and other molluscs, particularly, but not limited to, the groups that have radiated in the Southern Ocean and the deep sea. This research has highlighted connections between the world’s oceans, linked evolutionary radiations to climatic events (through dated phylogenies), and is helping us understand how Southern Ocean fauna survived the massive disturbances caused by Pliocene-Pleistocene glacial cycles. More recently I have been leading multidisciplinary cruises to the canyon systems on the Irish continental margin aboard RV Celtic Explorer. Here I am particularly interested in poorly known (and difficult!) taxa such as sponges where congruence between morphology and molecular phylogenies is often difficult to find.
Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Louise Allcock on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan instatute Podcast Channel

Prof. Brown is the Director of the Ryan Institute, and is the Project Manager for the €3.1M Griffith Biogeoscience Project. His research interests include: (i) investigating the structure of the crust (ii) electromagnetic induction methods (iii) acoustic, and seismic, imaging and classification of sediments (iv) marine habitat mapping using remotely operated vehicles.
Click here to listen to an interview with Professor Colin Brown on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan Institute Podcast Channel

Dr. Cave’s research focuses on ocean chemistry, groundwater-seawater interactions, and biogeochemical cycling in coastal waters.

Dr. Croot is a graduate of the University of Otago, New Zealand where he completed his BSc and PHd in Chemistry. His general research areas are trace element specification, redox behaviour.

Dr. Christine Domegan, B. Comm, MBS, PhD is the Social Innovation and Policy Research Leader and Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Christine researches Behavioural & Social Change and Social Innovation through Systems and Strategic Social Marketing and associated concepts of value co-creation, stakeholder analysis, strategic partnerships, civic engagement and capacity to act at population, community and individual levels through a multi-disciplinary lens with partners in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. She combines Social Marketing with service learning research and teaching, bringing a civic engagement dimension to her work.

Dr. Maeve Edwards

(Maeve is currently on maternity leave)



Dr. Farrell’s research interests are in sediment transport processes in coastal and river environments. His research relies on the design and implementation of instrumented field experiments and, many times, in partnership with coastal research groups around the world. A driving motivation of his research is the conviction that informed decision making must be based upon empirical data as we try to predict how natural systems operate in response to (un)natural and human forcing.
Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Eugene Farrell on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan instatute Podcast Channel

Brendan Flynn was appointed within the School as a lecturer in 1998. He has studied at the University of Essex for his Masters and PhD degrees, his doctoral thesis having the title: "Subsidiarity and the Evolution of EU environmental policy", with Prof. Albert Weale, as his supervisor. He has taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses on topics in the areas of Irish politics, introduction to politics, and European Politics. He has also offered specialist third option courses in Environmental Policy and EU policy. His primary research interests include comparative environmental policy, with a special focus on EU and Irish developments. He also retains an interest in wider EU policy and European politics developments. He is the author of The Blame Game: Rethinking Ireland’s Sustainable Development and Environmental Performance (2007, Dublin: Irish Academic Press).

Dr. Grehan is a Senior Research Fellow in the discipline of Earth and OceanSciences, School of Natural Sciences, at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr. Grehan obtained his PhD in Zoology in Ireland before undertaking post-doctoral studies at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris VI (Laboratoire Arago, Banyuls) and at the Université du Québec in Rimouski and Montreal, Canada. This work primarily focused on benthic mapping/monitoring and environmental assessments of estuaries, embayments and coastal seas, and of hydrothermal vent and seep areas, in the deep-sea.

Dr. Hartnett is the Research Director of the Marine Modelling Centre. Activities within the centre include: deep ocean water circulation modelling; estuarine and coastal circulation modelling; nutrient modelling; water quality modelling; biological modelling; heavy metal modelling; wave climate modelling; and modelling air-sea interfaces.

Stephen is a lecturer in the Disciple of Economics at NUI Galway. He is also the director of the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit. He has a PhD in Environmental Economics from Stirling University, Scotland. He is currently the Principle Investigator on a number of large multi-disciplinary projects including the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine funded “Economic & Social Research related to the Development of the Dynamics of the Marine Sector in Ireland”, the EU FP7 funded SOCIOEC project and the EU INTERREG funded MARNET. Stephen has a strong background in applied environmental/natural resource economic research and extensive work experience in econometric modelling. He has previously worked as an environmental economist in the Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc. Stephen’s main research interest is in microeconomic behaviour analysis, related to natural resource/environmental and rural development policy and his work has been published by a number of the top-ranked journals in the fields of marine, environmental and natural resource economics.

I am a marine ecologist with a particular interest in spatial ecology. I use experiments, survey, computer simulation and data analysis to understand patterns of population abundance and assemblage composition. My experience includes both benthic and pelagic ecology. The different approaches can be applied to address questions in conservation, fisheries, introduced species, monitoring, environmental management and compliance to legislation.

Ronan Long read for his PhD in Trinity College Dublin. He holds a Personal Professorship in Law and the Jean Monnet Chair of European Law at the School of Law at NUI Galway, where he lectures EU Law, International Law, Planning and Environmental Law, Law of the Sea, and European Fisheries Law. He has also lectured at the Rhodes Academy Oceans Law and Policy and is a supervisor of advanced academic research under the United Nations - The Nippon Foundation of Japan Fellowship Programme. In this capacity, he has worked with mid-career legal professionals from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Dr. Lynch’s research interests are in the field of coastal geomorphology and integrated coastal zone management. He is primarily involved in field–based research of beach-dune systems, with the aim of elucidating links between short-term variables and longer-term morphological development.

Research interests in the area of environment and health include the bioavailability, mobility, biomonitoring, and toxicity of metal contaminants in the environment. Current research includes biogeochemical investigation on elevated concentrations of metals from natural and anthropogenic sources in drinking water supplies. Dr. Morrison established and manages the Chemical Monitoring Facility at the Ryan Institute, NUIG.

Dr. Ilaria Nardello



Stephen’s interests are in the numerical modelling of marine waters from shallow coastal waters to the deep ocean. Particular processes of interest are tidal circulation, transport of pollutants, water quality and primary production.

Dr. Power is leader of the Biodiversity and Bioresources priority thematic area. Her research interests include marine ecology (population level studies), the impacts of climate change on Irish rocky shores, and barnacles.

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Anne Marie Power on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan Institute Podcast Channel

Dr. Raine led the Marine and Coastal Processes priority thematic area. He was a lecturer in Marine Microbiology and head of the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Research Group.

Click here to listen to an interview with Professor Robin Raine on our Itunes podcast channel:
Ryan Institute Podcast Channel

Dr Stengel is Head of Botany and Plant Sciences and leads the Algal BioSciences Research Cluster at NUI Galway.

Expertise and interests: algal biology, ecology and biotechnology.

Research interests include the sustainable utilisation of algae (seaweeds and microalgae), and the role of algae in marine ecosystem functioning and climate change research (e.g. ocean acidification; ocean-atmosphere interactions; iodine cycle).

Research concentrates on ecological and metabolic responses of algae (seaweeds and microalgae) and seagrasses to their environment (climate change; anthropogenic influences such as harvesting; water quality), the targeted cultivation of macro- and microalgae for the optimised production of seaweed and algal biomass, and primary and secondary metabolites of commercial interest.

Recent and current projects include NutraMara (Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative), and several Marine Institute, EI, EPA and DAFM-funded projects (e.g. Pro-SeaVeg, SMART-Food, AsMara), an SFI-investigator project on seaweed iodine, and projects on seaweed biomass assessment. Dr Stengel also currently leads a Marine Biotechnology ERA-net project (‘Neptuna’).

Our research interest focus on the specialized metabolites, also called natural products, produced by marine organisms and especially marine invertebrates. We have expertise on the purification by HPLC and structure elucidation by NMR and MS of these small molecules. Such natural products may find applications in the pharmaceutical or cosmetical sectors through established collaborations. We are also engaged in several projects in chemical ecology in order to understand their metabolic pathways but also their ecological role in the environment. Keywords: Natural Product Chemistry, Bioactive Natural Products, Chemical Ecology, Marine Invertebrates, Sponges, Microalgae, Metabolic Pathways, Metabolomics

Dr. White’s research interests include benthic dynamics; biophysical interactions; continental margin hydrography; cold water corals.