Environmental Management & Conservation

Effective policies in environmental management and conservation require scientific evidence in identifying suitable policy direction and in evaluating the effectiveness of policy interventions. The science to support conservation may be through a functional understanding of ecosystems or an understanding of past and future potential environmental conditions. Research in this theme characterises the status and changes in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems with the intention of informing effective policy.


Photo: Dr. Michael Gormally, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Michael Gormally
Applied Ecology Unit, Microbiology
Phone: (091) 49 3334; Email: mike.gormally@nuigalway.ie
Research in the Applied Ecology Unit primarily deals with the management and conservation of a wide range of terrestrial habitats including woodlands, turloughs (disappearing lakes), wet grasslands, machair (rare coastal habitat), callows (flood meadows), riparian habitats, peatlands, stonewalls and HNV (High Nature Value) farmland. Members of the research team have a particular interest in the effects of management on terrestrial invertebrate and plant communities. In addition, the development of sustainable stocking densities for grazed ecosystems using questionnaires to determine past/current grazing practices and using direct animal observation and GPS collars is of particular interest. Another area of research is the use of invertebrates as biological control agents of agricultural pests and diseases. Considerable expertise has been developed in the Applied Ecology Unit in the use of sciomyzids (Diptera) as biological control agents of snail-borne trematode diseases and of horticultural slug species.
Photo: Dr. Mark Healy, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Mark G. Healy
Lecturer, Civil Engineering
Phone: (091) 49 5364; Email: mark.healy@nuigalway.ie
Research interests include: surface and subsurface processes with a particular interest in erosion and surface runoff of nutrients, solids and metals, and leaching of nutrients through soil; greenhouse gas emissions; soil fertility; constructed wetlands; sand filtration; sequencing batch reactors; biosolids; composting; and the effects of forestry activities, such as clearfelling, on the environment (nutrient loss, use of buffer zones, greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere).
Photo: Prof. Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Prof. Mark Johnson
Marine Environment
Phone: (091) 49 5864; Email: mark.p.johnson@nuigalway.ie
I have research interests in fisheries and marine conservation, including the design of marine protected areas and in marine spatial planning. Different projects I have been involved in include an evaluation of shellfish harvesting in Strangford Lough SAC, assessments of habitat sensitivity in reserve selection and a network summary of the European Atlantic SACs.
Dr. Colin Lawton, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Colin Lawton
Phone: (091) 492335 ; Email: colin.lawton@nuigalway.ie
My main research interest is in the field of mammal ecology. I have worked on a number of squirrel ecology projects, with particular reference to red and grey squirrel competition, their distribution, red squirrel conservation and the management of grey squirrel populations. The most recent work in the Mammal Ecology Group has investigated the use of translocation as a conservation tool for red squirrels. The ecology of small mammal populations, the control of pest species, the ecology of invasive species, mammal monitoring techniques and their applications and mammal parasitology are other areas of interest.
Photo: Dr. Zoe Popper, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr Zoë Popper
Botany and Plant Science
Phone: (0)91 49 5431; Email: zoe.popper@nuigalway.ie
Research interests include: understanding the impact of parasitic plants on their host plants and the influence on diversity within the plant communities in which they grow. Work is currently being carried out in collaboration with Brigit’s Garden to investigate the role of hemi-parasitic plants in the establishment and maintenance of diversity within species-rich grasslands.
Dr. Aaron Potito, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Aaron Potito
Phone: (0)91 49 3936; Email: aaron.potito@nuigalway.ie
My research focuses on the use of lake sedimentary records and tree-rings to reconstruct late Pleistocene and Holocene climates and to assess human impacts on lake and forest environments. My research has increasingly concentrated on chironomid (non-biting midge fly) subfossils in lake sediments as a palaeoenvironmental indicator. Current chironomid-based research projects include assessment of historic and pre-historic human impacts on lake systems in Ireland, and impacts of recent climate change on lake ecosystems in China.
Photo: Dagmar Stengel, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research Dr. Dagmar Stengel
Botany and Plant Science
Phone:(091) 49 3192; Email: dagmar.stengel@nuigalway.ie
Environmental management and conservation research interests include the assessment, management and protection of seaweed resources to facilitate their sustainable utilisation.