The ObSERVE aerial project is being led by researchers at the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Science, and the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy at University College Cork.

Project partners are Aerosotravia, Alnilam, and IMARES

UCC (University College Cork)

UCC is one of the premier research institutions in Ireland, and is ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide based on the quality of research output and peer esteem.  UCC is the leading institution for marine mammal and seabird research in Ireland, and  has previously co-ordinated large scale cetacean and seabird surveys and been partners on the SCANS II and CODA surveys.  UCC will be providing observers to undertake aerial surveys, contribute to analysis and lead on producing reports and publications as well as project management of the aerial survey programme.  The project leads, Professor Emer Rogan (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science) and Dr Mark Jessopp (MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy) have extensive marine mammal and seabird experience.

IMARES (Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies)

IMARES is the Netherlands research institute established to provide the scientific support that is essential for developing policies and innovation in respect of the marine environment, fishery activities, aquaculture and the maritime sector. IMARES has conducted standardised line transect distance sampling aerial surveys in the North Sea to estimated the abundance of cetaceans since 2008. IMARES is contributing skilled observers for the aerial surveys and is responsible for producing abundance estimates from the survey data.


Aerosotravia have been an air work operator since 1961 and have extensive cetacean and seabird survey experience. Aerosotravia have provided the air resources for REMMOA, an extensive programme surveying for marine mammals in French overseas territorial waters. Aerosotravia will provide a BN2 Islander aircraft, pilots, and maintenance engineers for the OBSERVE aerial surveys.


Alnilam is a research and conservation consultancy founded in 2010 by researchers with more than 20 years experience in the field. The work undertaken by Alnilam focuses on carrying out scientific research projects on biodiversity and the environment, both marine and terrestrial, including data collection and analysis. ALNILAM will produce density surface estimates for marine mammals and seabirds using statistical modelling approaches.


Funding is gratefully acknowledged from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the  Gaeltacht.