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AQUAFACT’s scientific dive team consists of Dr. Mark Costelloe and Dr. Brendan O’Connor .

Mark has approximately 25 years experience in a diversity of marine dive projects. He has carried out in excess of 2000 logged scientific dives that have included assessments, collections and photographic recordings of both soft and hard-bottom communities in the marine environment. He is an experienced scientific diver having first qualified as a CMAS** in 1979 and has since qualified as a PADI Rescue Diver and Divemaster.

Brendan began diving as an undergraduate at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has routinely participated in and managed diving projects since AQUAFACT was founded. He has been involved in species and habitat surveys, examination of benthic conditions under salmon farms and mussel lines and freshwater pearl mussel surveys.


  • A review of Epifaunal Classification Systems and Sampling Methodologies in the context of the Water Framework Directive
  • Epifaunal survey – Gurraig Sound, Co. Galway
  • Subtidal epifaunal survey in the Shannon Estuary, Co. Kerry
  • Benthic survey of outfall exclusion zone, Wexford Harbour
  • Seabed photography and faunal survey at a proposed aggregate extraction site, Hastings Bank, English Channel
  • Dive survey examining epifauna at aquaculture sites in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork, Kenmare River, Co. Cork
  • Courtown beach re-nourishment project. Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Dive examining epifauna near Knightstown, Valentia Island – focussing on a search for rare anthozoans
  • Diving surveys of marine cSAC epifauna in Roaringwater Bay, Kenmare River and Clew Bay
  • Subtidal Reef Investigations in the following cSACs: Kenmare Bay, Tralee Bay and the Magharees, Co. Kerry (2011)
  • Subtidal Reef Investigations in the following cSACs: Mulroy Bay, Rutland Bay and Islands, Kilkerrin Bay, Mannin Bay, Slyne Head, the Shannon Estuary, Hook Head, Saltee Islands and Carnsore Point (2010)
  • Subtidal Reef Investigations in the following cSACs: Galway Bay, Clew Bay, Broadhaven Bay and Blacksod Bay (2009)
  • Reef assessments associated with the Westwave Project, Doonbeg, Clare
  • Diving surveys off Islandmagee, Co. Antrim associated with two energy projects
  • Annual subtidal benthic audits for finfish farms along the west coast