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Galway City Museum’s programme of events caters for a variety of audiences and interests, comprising gallery tours, illustrated talks, art and craft workshops, art classes and lectures. Enjoy our current series of online workshops here!

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Deeply Wild – Sealife of the West Coast of Ireland

April 8, 2021 - April 9, 2021

Nick Pfeiffer started diving in 1980. Having worked as a biologist with the Marine Institute he established MERC, a scientific consultancy in 2005. Today he runs the busy aquatic environmental and ecological consultancy where much of his work involves recording and monitoring natural habitats and plants and animals of the rivers, lakes and seas in Ireland and further afield.  

This talk examines the marine species and habitats of the aquatic world of the west coast including mearl beds, seagrass meadows, sandy and muddy sea beds, reefs and open waters. Follow Nick Pfeiffer, photographer and ecologist, on a journey along the coastline of Connemara and the Aran Islands, taking in beautiful imagery and video of the animals and habitats of this unique and hidden world.


Nick starts his journey with a two-minute introduction with several fabulous videos and images taken all within the area around Galway City out as far as the Aran Islands. The Galway coastline is estimated to be 700km long and is host to a tremendous range of biodiversity. Nick introduces you to Mearl beds, which is a type of red seaweed that is associated with high biodiversity. Seagrass meadows are another unique habitat that we are fortunate to have in County Galway, they are host to many animals such as Dogfish and Sea Slugs. He continues by showing you the muddy and sandy seabed habitat, the species that can occur here include starfish and light bulb sea squirts. Reefs are habitats made out of bedrock or boulders and are home to crustaceans and algal communities which provide shelter for other animals such as fish. The final habitat that Nick covers in his talk are the near shore open waters. The animals that can be found here include bottlenose dolphins and jellyfish.

Key Terms

Biodiversity is the enormous variety of plant and animal life in the world. It refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals and humans.

Habitat is the place where an organism lives; it provides a particular set of conditions for life; it may be large (a field) or small (a leaf)

Species is set of organisms that share many characteristics in common; they can breed with each other to produce fertile offspring; example of species are humans, dogs, cats, buttercups and daffodils

Mini Beasts, also known as invertebrates, are small creatures who do not have backbones like humans. They include insects, crustaceans, millipedes and arachnids.

This Galway City Museum initiative is supported by Creative Ireland through Galway City Council.

Recommended reading and other resources

Ireland’s Seashore: A Field Guide by Lucy Taylor and Emma Nickelson

School Curriculum Links


Understand the interdependence of a wide variety of living things and their environments, recognize the importance of conserving habitats and environments, and begin to understand that all life now and in the future depends on the sustainable development of the planet.

Observe, identify and investigate the animals and plants that live in local environments


Reinforce and stimulate curiosity and imagination about local and wider environments

Encourage the development of caring attitudes and responsible behaviour towards the environment, and involvement in the identification, discussion, resolution and avoidance of environmental problems.


April 8, 2021
April 9, 2021
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(091) 532 460
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Galway City Museum
(091) 532 460
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