Philip Keena

Philip Keena
Research Assistant

Growing up in the midlands of Ireland I had a passion for angling and a great interest in all things related to freshwater systems and how they work. This led me to do the BSc in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology in ATU Galway City, completing it in 2017. From this, I learned just how interconnected these ecosystems can be and also how fragile they can be.

In 2018, I worked as a Lab technician with the Marine Institute in Newport Co. Mayo. Here I gained skills in fish husbandry through their salmon hatchery. I got to work with the acoustic tagging project on smolts and with the electrofishing surveys carried out on the Burrishoole catchment.

I moved into Aquaculture working with rainbow trout and became the hatchery manager for IDAS trout for 5 years. Here I worked on logistics of importing eggs, improving health of fish, improving old hatchery systems and increasing the quality of the fish produced.

In April 2023, I became a Research Assistant working within the Freshwater Ecology team in the MFRC at ATU Galway City. I am currently involved in the Nephin Forest Lakes project, and Characterising Oligotrophic Lakes where I am responsible for testing the use of underwater drones for the identification of macrophytes.


This NPWS funded research project (2023) is led by ATU Galway City. The aim of this project is to identify differences in desmid (a type of phytoplankton) community composition among dystrophic lakes impacted by different land-uses (grazing, peat cutting, forestry and unimpacted). This information will be used to develop desmid species lists to indicate whether a lake is in a favourable or unfavourable conservation status to help inform the EU Habitats Directive.
Lake surrounded by Conifer forest
This research will determine a baseline list of biological communities, comprising aquatic and semi-aquatic plants, invertebrates and vertebrates of dystrophic lakes and pools within Nephin Forest using eDNA.
This EPA funded research project (2020-2023) is led by ATU Galway City and aims to gather and assess baseline data on oligotrophic lakes