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Like a Bat out of Hell we’ve been Working to the Morning Light - respect

28 Jan 2022

Wow it’s been a busy week this week with the Marine Geosciences Research Group. Andy has put together a summary of the groups activity.

As Head of the Group, I have oversight of our 12 current projects and we always have new ones in the pipelines. We had a few deadlines this week and like buses they can sometimes come all at once. To give you a flavour of the things we’re doing, and what we have planned for the future, I’ll give you a quick run through of this week’s action.

Projects’ progress

We get funding from various sources and have to quite rightly submit progress report. This is a good opportunity for us to reflect on what we are achieving and also double check we are on schedule. The Marine Institute, EU H2020 and Science Foundation Ireland all wanted their reports this week. All good, all going well.

Monitoring Microplastics, their Associated Chemicals and their Effects in Irish Deep Water Coral Habitats (Plast_Chem_Cora) – Dr Alicia Mateos Cárdenas has made great progress in characterising microplastics accumulating in Ireland’s cold-water habitats. 

Novel Mapping Of The Shallow Water INFOMAR Data Set: Towards Irelands First Shallow Water Atlas (NoMans_TIF) – Dr Riccardo Arosio has produced the first geomorphological map of the Celtic Sea, **BOOM!** 

Mapping, Modelling and Monitoring Key Processes and Controls on Cold-water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons (MMMonKey_Pro) – Luke O’Reilly and John Appah are close to finishing their PhDs looking as changes in coral environments from the last glaciation to present and cold-water coral “health” with drafts flying out. 

Integrated Assessment of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems in Space and Time (iAtlantic) – Felix Butschek has been doing excellent work on assessing the drivers of upwelling and sediment pulses impinging on the coral habitats in the Porcupine Bank Canyon from our lander data.

SFI Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) – we keep reporting progress on all activities as our iCRAG2 infrastructure and research projects come on stream. 

In addition, we had some timely progress meetings with partners on:

Informing and Mapping the Offshore Renewable Environment (I-MORE) with Dr Guillaume Michel updating us on the success of the recent uCPT survey on the RV Celtic Explorer at SSE’s Braymore Windfarm prospect. **BOOM!**

and, Bedrock Target analysis for ROV Rockdrill sampling and existing sample stratigraphic and mineralogical verification: Part 2 (BeTar_Drill2) with Dr Audrey Recouveur revealing the newly developed first bedrock suitability map for the Irish continental margin **BOOM!**

Other great new is we are now ready for John Appah to submit his new paper “Accumulation of marine litter in cold-water coral habitats: a comparative study of two Irish Special Areas of Conservation, NE Atlantic” to Marine Pollution Bulletin for international peer review. Go John!

Always something new

Most weeks bring good news for the Group and this week we’re delighted that we were successful in getting a 3-D visualisation workstation from the Geological Survey Equipment call with the newly appointed Palaleontology lecturer Dr Chris Mays (BEES-UCC)

I also drove our new replacement Technicapp Sediment Trap to Galway (the further north in two year – don’t you love COVID) so the Marine Institute technicians can integrate it into a new lander frame – many thanks lads as always!

And we also interviewed for the Acoustic Seabed Characterisation and Benthic Habitat Associations in the Celtic Sea (ABC Celtic Sea) Cullen Scholarship starting this spring – more on that later!

On the horizon

So now to the future as we have big plans for 2022!

Myself and Felix Butschek have been putting finishing touch to the tender to acquire €170,000 of sensor upgrades (salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity) to the Little MonSta mini-lander platforms  already with sediment traps and current profiles. This is a strategic investment by SFI iCRAG2 and will serve several projects.

I’ve also been help pull together a large EU proposal to look at developing monitoring technologies and protocols for assessment environmental impacts from deep-sea mining – I think those landers will come in handy!

And with Dr Riccardo Arosio we’re putting a proposal for a joint PhD with University of Plymouth to look at seabed geomorphological mapping supports for the offshore windfarm sector.

And by the way, we’ll (iCRAG2) be having and Offshore Windfarm Development Workshop in a couple months…..and finalising our summer shiptime plans (I can’t tell you about that yet!)


Relax you must be joking, to burn off some extra pounds I did a spot of Badminton down the local sports hall, great fun, and manage to rope in Luke, John and Guillaume. I lost of course.

Happy Chinese New Year to our Chinese colleagues and check out our new website!  

Andy Wheeler – weekend at last

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