February 7, 2022

Ireland requires its facility for climate and biodiversity research

Ecologist and Professor Yvonne Buckley of Trinity College Dublin believes there is a lack of funding in Ireland for biodiversity and environmental research. Last year, Buckley was recognised as the Researcher of Year by the Irish Research Council (IRC), an annual award highlighting those that have made a significant contribution to new developments or society.

A large extent of Buckley’s work focuses on the development, reproduction and survival of plants and animals. At Trinity College, she has a team of researchers examining how biodiversity can be sustained through constant challenges, like the climate crisis. By exploring the current patterns and populations of various species Buckley and her team can measure problems if a population is declining. Computer modelling can be applied to work out possible solutions to these problems. 

The research performed by Buckley and her team explores new ways of conserving plants and animals at risk of becoming extinct and implementing methods of population management. Buckley is the co-chair of the All-Island Climate and Biodiversity Research Network, a new program collaborating with researchers in Ireland to tackle climate change and biodiversity issues. She is also the VP for biodiversity and climate action at Trinity College, ensuring the university influences climate change and biodiversity strategies.

Aside from the need to tackle climate challenges, Buckley also highlights funding obstacles specifically facing biodiversity and scientific research. After years of working as a researcher in Australia, Buckley points to the significant difference in funding received for environmentally-related research in Ireland. She states that while Ireland is working on the right path, the support hasn’t been visible for the last few years. 

Buckley highlights that Ireland lacks a dedicated facility for climate and biodiversity issues. The policies and the ways of tackling biodiversity challenges vary from country to country. We can’t depend on solutions created in the US or elsewhere to work effectively in Ireland. Ireland has a unique landscape and biodiversity that needs its own solution.

Today, we’re seeing the importance of big data and its influence on generating environmental information. This complex data supports the development of new models and defines how we approach new plans and solutions. Buckley believes we will see a growing number of ecologists and environmental scientists depend on computer technology and work with larger volumes of data and more insightful information.