Coral Carbonate Mound Archives for Submarine Canyon Exchange Processes (CoMA_CoP)
The Porcupine Bank Canyon, one of Ireland’s largest submarine canyons, is located at the centre of the Irish-Atlantic margin on the Porcupine Bank. Although designated as an SAC (Special Area of Conservation) until recently, it has largely been unexplored. Three research cruises (2015, 2016 and 2017) have been carried out, through this iCRAG project, to understand the contemporary and palaeo-environmental setting of the canyon and asses the fidelity of the cold-water corals (and associate mound structures) as local and regional palaeo-archives of environmental change. A series of novel marine surveying techniques (ROV-mounted mulitbeam and ROV-mounted vibrocoring) as well as more conventional techniques (ROV video, CTD’s, hull-mounted mulitbeam and ROV sampling) have allowed to reconstruct the canyon watermass, geomorphology, substrate type, habitats and coral microstructure.
1: To understand the sediment and nutrient flux in a contemporary and palaeo-canyon head setting (Porcupine Bank Canyon) and the associated palaeoenvironmental history of canyon head cold-water coral carbonate mounds habitats
2: To assess the fidelity of the cold-water corals and carbonate mounds as novel palaeoarchives of canyon head processes and as proxies for both local and large-scale environmental change
Dr Aaron Lim
Prof Quentin Crowley (grant holder)