Lough Hyne


Lough Hyne is a sheltered marine lake recognised worldwide as a biodiversity hotspot. To date, Lough Hyne is the only marine reserve in the Republic of Ireland, supporting over 1850 species in just half a square kilometre.

Check out below some of the species that live in Lough Hyne.


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The lough is more than 50 metres deep, but even in its shallow waters, animals and seaweeds grow that would more typically be found in deeper areas of the open ocean. Sponges and anemones that are usually found deeper than 30 metres occur in the lough as shallow as five metres. The most conspicuous organisms living on the rocky cliffs are sponges, which form dense gardens of more than 100 species.



Unfortunately, the last 20 years have seen significant changes in the flora and fauna of Lough, including loss of biodiversity. Research is ongoing to understand the possible causes.

Watch the video on the right to know more about it.



Although Lough Hyne is one of the most studied places in the world, many species remain unknown to science. In particular, several sponges still have no name. Our aim is to provide formal descriptions of some of these sponges to aid their long-term conservation.


Additional resources

The Irish lough that offers a window into the deep sea

link to the article



University College Cork, Lough Hyne's page

link to the web page

Vulnerability of Temperate Mesophotic Ecosystems (TMEs) to environmental impacts: Rapid ecosystem changes at Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve, Ireland

link to the scientific article