A new research project at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is looking for public input to analyse seal populations around the Irish coast.
The project is being undertaken by German native Kristina Steinmetz, a graduate of the Biodiversity and Conservation MSc. programme at GMIT, as part of her PhD.
“Seals are protected in Irish waters and I am looking to improve management of these species. A lot of my research focuses on genetic analyses of population structure and a second big part of it is looking at habitat use,” explained Kristina.
“Of course I can go out and monitor haul-out sites, but I can’t be everywhere,” she said. “If you see a seal or come across a dead one, I would appreciate if you let me know.”The habitat use element of the research is where Kristina is looking for public contributions. While she will be monitoring seal haul-out sites around the country as a key part of her research, she’s looking to augment her data with records and photographs of both grey and common seals submitted by members of the public.
Kristina has created a dedicated sightings form on the project website or you can email Kristina directly or send a message via the Seal Research Ireland Facebook page.