Organisational Team

Catherine Farrell, Trinity College Dublin, Natural Capital Ireland, Community Wetlands Forum

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Catherine is an internationally recognised champion / specialist of ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation with extensive experience in freshwater wetlands, specifically peatlands, and woodlands. An articulate communicator, she is skilled at developing collaboration with cross-functional teams and wide-ranging stakeholders locally and internationally, from community to corporate. Having established the scientific and practical basis for Bord na Móna’s industrial peatland rehabilitation programme, Catherine is presently applying her knowledge and experience of climate, biodiversity, water, society, and economy to map out the approach to natural capital accounting in the Irish context as part of the INCASE project. As a founding (and active) member of Natural Capital Ireland, as well as an active member of the Community Wetlands Forum and the Society of Ecological Restoration, she is leading the coordination of the Peatlands Gathering 2021.

Ellen O'Carroll, University College Dublin, FoodCult

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On the FoodCult project, Ellen is working on developing and populating the FoodCult Mapping database that brings together history, archaeology, science and information technology to explore the diet and foodways of diverse communities in early modern Ireland. Ellen previously worked as Project Director with responsibility for the evaluation, excavation and protection of archaeological sites on Bord na Móna peat bogs and has published widely on cultural heritage remains from peatbogs. A licensed archaeological site director, she was part of the environmental research team on the National Museum of Ireland’s ‘Irish Bog Body Project’ co-coordinating research associated with Cashel man. Ellen co-authored an extensive document on guidelines for the retrieval, analysis and reporting of plant macro-remains, wood and charcoal from archaeological deposits, and the use and applicability of pollen analysis for the National Roads Authority.

Emma Gray, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

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Emma is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. She is part of the Environmental Protection Agency-funded PeAT Lakes project which aims to characterise and help conserve 3110 & 3160 peatland oligotrophic lake habitats in Ireland under the EU Habitats Directive. Her research focusses on using algal communities as a tool for describing and monitoring the function and conservation condition of these habitats.

Florence Renou-Wilson, University College Dublin

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Principal Investigator, Lecturer and Director of MSc Programme in Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy at School of Biology & Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Florence has investigated peatlands for more than 20 years, at the crossroads of ecology, forestry, agriculture, climate change and sustainable management. She has led many peatland research projects investigating the effects of current uses of bogs on gaseous and fluvial emissions, carbon and nutrient stocks and biodiversity. She is investigating peatland management under future global change and how best to preserve and restore the many services they provide; ultimately providing guidance to policy makers, industry, natural resource managers and an increasing number of local communities. She has been appointed scientific advisor to the Government's multi-stakeholder Peatlands Council and contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Wetlands Supplement and Special report on Climate Change & Land.

Heather Lally, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

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Heather is a Principal Investigator (PI), Lecturer & Researcher in Freshwater Ecology and Biology at GMIT with over 10 years’ experience researching the restoration, monitoring and management of Irish cutaway peatland ecosystems, and developing conservation and management tools for the long-term protection of blanket bog habitats. She is currently PI on the EPA and NPWS co-funded PeAT Lakes project which aims to develop a framework for characterising oligotrophic 3110 & 3160 lakes under the EU Habitats Directive using biological tools including algae, macrophytes and macroinvertebrates; and the Marine Institute Cullen funded biodiversity conservation & restoration in the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park (WNB-NP) project which aims to determine a baseline for terrestrial and aquatic flora (blanket bog vegetation and macrophytes) and fauna (macroinvertebrates and fish) within WNB-NP prior to restoration efforts, evaluate important interactions between aquatic and terrestrial environments which define the WNB-NP area, and against which the benefits of future remediation actions can be evaluated.

John Connolly, Trinity College Dublin

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John is the Kinsella Assistant Professor in GIS and Remote Sensing and leads the Trinity Geospatial Research Group. His research uses GIS and Earth Observation to study the terrestrial environment including land use change; landscape carbon dynamics; ecosystem services; solar mapping and habitat assessment. He is particularly interested in peatlands and biodiversity in agricultural systems. John is currently the Principal Investigator for the EPA-funded iHabiMap project. He is currently CO-PI on several other projects including the Irish Peatland Resilience project, the SmartBog projectGENENET and the SolarMap Project. He is also an international collaborator on the Boston University--led Global Land-cover project: GLanCE Project. He has been invited to be a Coordinating Lead Author for the chapter on “Global peatlands extent and status” in the UNEP led Global Peatland Assessment. 

Ken Byrne, University of Limerick

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Senior lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, at University of Limerick, Ken's background is in forestry and soil science with an over-arching interest in sustainable land use. His primary research focus is the terrestrial carbon cycle. This work covers a range of land uses and soil types and he is particularly interested in forest and peatland ecosystems. Ken's work is grounded in field scale studies involving soil sampling and the investigation of below-ground carbon allocation as well as the use of chamber and tower systems to measure plot and ecosystem scale greenhouse gas exchange. He is interested in upscaling these studies to regional and national level using both earth observation and ground data.

Laurence Gill, Trinity College Dublin

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Professor in Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Laurence's research interests involve studying the fate and transport of both air and water-borne pollutants in the natural and built environment, the development of passive treatment processes, the ecohydrology and greenhouse emissions of wetlands and the characterisation of karst hydrological catchments. Much of the work involves extensive field studies which are then used to develop mathematical models to gain further insight into the processes. Principal Investigator on the country’s first Applied Geoscience research centre (iCRAG) and heads the Groundwater research spoke which focuses on karst hydrology. Relevant projects include: Ecohydrology, Greenhouse Gas Dynamics and Restoration Guidelines for Degraded Raised Bogs ; Principal Investigator on EPA-funded EcoMetrics - environmental supporting conditions for Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems; Collaborator on EPA-funded SMARTBOG - Smart observations of management impacts on peatland function 

Niall Ó Brolcháin, National University of Ireland, Galway

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Niall is a Research Associate at NUI Galway. He is policy lead with the EU Interreg Care-Peat project examining business cases to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands in Europe. The main goal of Care-Peat is to set up and demonstrate innovative technologies for new restoration and carbon measurement techniques and involve local and regional stakeholders. For this, nature organisations, together with landowners, restore peatlands at five different pilot sites ranging from 10 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the (potential) carbon savings of the restoration. For each site, different restoration techniques are used - from manual labour to growing additional peat moss. Read more on the project here.

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Patrick is a wetland ecologist and director of Wetland Surveys Ireland and has worked in the area of peatland ecology, management, and restoration for the past twenty years. Much of his work during this period has centred around peatland and wetland surveys from local to national scale, reporting on habitat extent, distribution, condition, and management. In recent years, Patrick has managed the Pearl Mussel Project EIP, a large scale agri-environmental programme for farmers in the west of Ireland. This €10million project has designed and implemented a results-based payment scheme with a key target being the improved management of habitats on peat soils, whereby farmer payments are directly related to the demonstrated delivery of biodiversity, water and climate benefits. Learnings from this project are now being applied in the wider agri-environmental sector in Ireland and are being tested in the midland raised bog landscape through the FarmPEAT Project EIP. In a voluntary capacity, Patrick has co-develop the Map of Irish Wetlands a freely accessible online resource of wetland data across Ireland.

Pat Fitzgerald, Irish Peatlands Society

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Pat retired from Bord na Móna in 2019. He worked initially in the traditional peat business, later in communications and corporate affairs. Pat represented the company in the International Peatland Society for several years until he finally became involved in stakeholder engagement in the renewable energy business unit. He is currently Secretary of the Irish Peatlands Society.

Shane McGuinness, Community Wetlands Forum, Researcher, University College Dublin

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Shane is Development Officer for the Community Wetlands Forum, a special interest group of Irish Rural Link which represents a collective of 30+ community groups around Ireland who have an interest in peatlands. Shane is also a researcher in the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy in UCD, and has recently investigated the financing of biodiversity in Ireland using the UNDP BIOFIN model, and is developing the Peatland Finance Ireland project in conjunction with the WWF Landscape Finance Lab, the European Investment Bank and NPWS. Shane has a firm priority of encouraging community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) through the four key principles of development; Empowerment, Participation, Inclusion and Equality of Opportunity and will soon commence a large EU-wide wetland restoration project spanning 14 countries, focussing on the pillars of ecology, community, governance and finance.

Terry R. Morley, National University of Ireland, Galway
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Terry is a Lecturer and principal Investigator in Physical Geography at NUI Galway and the Ryan Institute. He is an ecologist with over 20 years’ experience in wetland ecology, habitat assessment and environmental sciences in the private, public, and academic sectors. Terry’s main research interests are associated with the conservation of habitats with particular interest in wetland ecosystems. Terry is currently a Principal Investigator on the INTERREG NWE Care Peat project working with the NPWS, IPCC and other European partners to reduce carbon emissions from degraded peatlands. He is also working on a project to assess the feasibility of rapid habitat assessment for inventory and monitoring, and is co-PI on the Source to Sink EPA and SEERAC Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine-funded projects.

More team members

David Fallon, Ballydangan Bog

Matt Saunders, TCD

Maurice Eakin, NPWS

Patrick Morrissey, EPA, Ramsar

Ray Flynn, QUB

Event organised by Natural Capital Ireland