Genre: Nature Documentary, Marine Science, Marine Biology, Oceanography
Director: Miss Siddhi Joshi (Please see biography on the top right)
Filming Locations: Carraroe, County Galway and Muckinish Inlet, County Clare
Interviews: Researchers of Ryan Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy Research, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and others
Maërl or rhodolith beds are seabed habitats of great conservation significance and are rare around Europe. Maërl can be found in the clear waters of Galway Bay and around Ireland- the video above only gives a sort glimpse! Maërl beds are colourful, free-living, marine coralline red algae that are often mistaken to be coral. Unlike coral, maërl is a plant rather than an animal and needs to photosynthesise to produce energy. Maërl beds fill an important niche in the marine ecosystem, serving as a transition between rocky and sandy habitats. Maërl provides a stable and three-dimensional habitat onto which a variety of species can attach. Diverse benthic communities such as those of sea cucumbers, clams, scallops and other bivalves live around maërl beds. They are mobile sediments which roll and saltate gently along the seabed, following the motions of the tides and the rhythmic action of the waves.
There are virtually no documentaries about maërl, with some coverage of the maërl beaches. Marine science documentaries can inspire the next generation of scientists to protect and conserve nature. While maërl beds are protected under the Habitats Directive, an increased level of conservation is necessary to protect these habitats for future generations.
Maërl is found in Galway Bay subtidally, intertidally or as biogenic gravel beaches, such as Carraroe’s “Trá an Doilin” or the beach locally known incorrectly as “Coral Strand.” Hence, maërl in Galway Bay has been studied by marine ecologists for over a century and National University of Ireland, Galway has a large concentration of researchers studying maërl. I myself am a PhD candidate in the Earth and Ocean Science discipline studying maërl sediment dynamics in the National University of Ireland, Galway and am presently completing my PhD thesis and writing some papers for leading international coastal dynamics journals.
This 15 to 25 minute short documentary film would contain the Irish perspective to maërl habitats and associated research. This film would interview marine scientists and botanists who research maërl. Short scenes would be filmed at Carraroe and at Muckinish Inlet’s intertidal maërl beds. A time-lapse scene at Muckinish would get footage of the tide going out to expose the maërl beds and then coming back in at Muckinish.
If successful, I intend to spend the money on hiring the professional filming equipment. I am a member of the Galway Film Centre, where I did the documentary making course. I would be able to hire broadcast quality kit for the filming days, with access to a FinalCutPro editing suite. Alternatively, if I am able to secure additional funds, I would get a Canon DSLR camera with lens for filming the documentary.
A full project pitch of this film can be found here