Luke O'Reilly


Luke O’Reilly is a PhD student in the UCC Marine Geosciences Research Group. Graduating with a BSc in Geology from University College Cork in 2017, he joined the research group in January 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Andy Wheeler. Luke’s research ‘Understanding Key Geological Processes and Controls on Cold-water Coral Habitat Development in Submarine Canyons’ is part of the MMMonKey_Pro project, and is aimed at investigating the temporal dynamics of paleo-cold-water coral habitats on the Irish Porcupine Bank Canyon, with special attention to reef cessation and initiation. His interests include micropaleontology, oceanography, invertebrate zoology, and sedimentology.

Luke's PhD within the programme focuses on the temporal habitat development and dynamics within the Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic. The project uses ROV-guided vibro cores, CT-scanning, micro-fossils and geochemical techniques to determine the growth history of coral habitats, palaeo-canyon processes and coral tallus deposits as archives within the canyon.



Research Interests

Cold-water corals; Ice-rafted debris; Quaternery geology


O'Reilly, L.Lim A., Titschack, J., Moore, N., O'Connor, O.J., Appah, J., Fentimen, R.Butschek, F., Harris, K., Vennemann, T., Wheeler, A.J. (2022). Using novel methods to track British and Irish Ice Sheet dynamics since the Late Pleistocene, along the west Porcupine Bank, NE Atlantic. Quaternary Science Reviews.
Wheeler, A.J., Lim, A., Butschek, F., O’Reilly, L. & O’Driscoll, P. (2021). The “Little MonSta” deep-sea benthic, precision deployable, multi-sensor and sampling lander array.  Sensors, 21 3355. doi: 10.3390/s21103355  

Lim, A., Wheeler, A.J., Price, D., O’Reilly, L., Harris, K. & Conti, C. (2020). Influence of benthic currents on cold-water coral habitats in the upper Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic: a combined benthic monitoring and 3D photogrammetric investigation.NatureScience Reports(2020) 10:19433.

Appah, J.K.M., Lim, A., Harris, K., O’Riordan, R., O’Reilly, L. and Wheeler, A.J., (2020). Are non-reef habitats as important to benthic diversity and composition as coral reef and rubble habitats in submarine canyons? Analysis of controls on benthic megafauna distribution in the Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science.

Recent research cruises:

CE20011 – Benthic lander recovery (Chief Scientist)

CE20011 – Systematic Monitoring Survey of the Moira Mound Chain (Night shift leader)

CE19014 – Monitoring Changes in Submarine Canyon Coral Habitats II (Night shift leader)

CE19008 – Monitoring Changes in Submarine Canyon Coral Habitats I (Night shift leader)

CV19026 – De-risking Offshore Wind Energy Development Potential in Irish Waters II (Scientist)

CE18011 – Controls of Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons II (Night shift leader)

CV18034 - AggreWind Research Survey (Scientist)

RV Belgica 2018/14 – GOLLUM: Research into the potential for “silent tsunamis” generated through mass-wasting in the Gollum Canal System, offshore SW Ireland (Foreign Vessel Observer)

RH17002 – Controls of Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons (Geoscientist)

CV17020 – Quantifying Irish Marine Placer Resources (Geoscientist)

Professional Activity

Awards and Honors

BEES Education and Public Engagement (EPE) Prize 2020 – based on my involvement in numerous, diverse and/or innovative EPE activities across a 12 month period. Luke was the inaugural winner of this award across the school.

Best Presentation – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2020

Bill Watts 14CHRONO Award 2019 – Awarded 3 AMS dates on behalf of the Irish Quaternary Association

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2019 for the amount of €750

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2018 for the amount of €1200

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2018 for the amount of €550

Honourable mention (Poster Presentation) – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2019

Honourable Mention (Poster Presentation) – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2018

College Scholar – 2015/16  |  2016/17 –  Awarded  by University College Cork on the basis of his undergraduate results

Best Student 2016 – The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland – The Society’s departmental representatives award students with the highest rankings in Mineralogy & Petrology

Luke O'Reilly

Contact Details:


Postgraduates, Student Assistants

Marine Geosciences Research Group

University College Cork

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, North Mall Campus, University College Cork, North Mall, Cork City, T23 TK30