BioMar was part-funded under the LIFE programme. LIFE is a financial instrument of the European Union which promotes the development and implementation of actions which support the 5th Environment Action programme. We thank the staff of the European Commission LIFE office in DGXI, particularly Mr Brian Ross, and their consultants, Dr Paul Harris and Mr Andrew Jarvis of EcoTec, and Ms Hilary Livesey of ERM, for their guidance and support.


The initiative to explore methods for the electronic dissemination of environmental data arising from marine ecological surveys was part of a proposal to the European Commission prepared by Mark J. Costello, Keith Hiscock and Bob Foster-Smith in February 1992. This ‘BioMar’ project became part-funded under the LIFE programme. Data was initially stored on the JNCC Marine Nature Conservation Review (MNCR) database developed by David Mills. Developments in computer software and hardware were dramatic during the course of the project and the project quickly adapted to the state of the art. The publishing of data on diskettes, compact discs and World Wide Web became progressively easier and cheaper.

Initial concepts and options for electronic dissemination were developed by the Biomar team of Bernard Picton, Elizabeth Sides, Chris Emblow, Christine Morrow and Mark Costello with technical support from Paul Mills, Jonathan Gillmor, and Dick Tobin of the Natural Resources Development Centre (in TCD) and GAMMA Ltd. In particular these considered the publication of facilities for searching the database, mapping data, and providing photographs and other images on screen. Helpful suggestions were received from other participants in the project, notably David Connor (JNCC) and Bob Foster-Smith (University of Newcastle). Bernard Picton developed the Web browser concept to display and link text and photographic information on species and biotopes and wrote export facilities to produce HTML pages describing biotopes and species from the main database. Chris Emblow (TCD) authored HTML pages in the glossary. Bernard and Chris, with Mark Costello designed the Biomar viewer and co-ordinated its production.

After the Biomar project was wound up in 1997 the custodianship of the data passed to Parks & Wildlife. In 2004 Christine Morrow scanned the original Biomar photographs for Parks & Wildlife. In 2006 the data and photographs were ported to this website by Bernard Picton.

The TCD team thank the Marine Institute and its staff for the use of the national research vessel, the Lough Beltra, in sampling the Lambay Deep, Codling Deep and Codling Bank. Michael Guiry and Christine Maggs confirmed and identified algae collected. The identification of sediment infauna was conducted by Aqua-Fact International Ltd, in particular by Brendan O’Connor, David McGrath and Mark Costelloe, and of some bryozoans by Peter Hayward. Fiona McCoole, Louise Duffy and Emer Crean entered and edited information in the database.

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