An update from PhD researcher John

Hi, I’m John Appah, a Marine Ecology PhD student in the Marine Geology Research group, UCC.

I have been working on the first paper of my PhD, “Environmental Controls of Benthic Megafauna Distributions in the Cold Water Coral-rich habitat of the upper Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic” on the MMMonKey_Pro project for the past few months.

The paper looks in to the key control processes on cold water coral habitats in the Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic. Cold water corals are abundant in the NE Atlantic. There are solitary and colonial forms and both are able to form reefs and can be found in deep seas from depths of 500-3000m.

Fig: Map showing the location of the PBC, NE Atlantic.

Continue reading “An update from PhD researcher John”

MarPAMM launch, December 2018

Last week, Professor Andy Wheeler and PhD researcher Gerard Summers attended a very successful launch to the MarPAMM project at the Whistledown hotel in Warrenpoint.

MarPAMM Launch, 2018.

This project will oversee the collaboration of researchers from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland as they develop new and effective means of observing and protecting essential marine species, helping to preserve marine protected areas and establishing important international connections and cooperation. Continue reading “MarPAMM launch, December 2018”


Researchers from the MMMonKey_Pro project travelled to Shenzhen, China for the International Network for submarine Canyon Investigation and Scientific Exchange (INCISE) 2018 symposium.

Dr Aaron Lim (left), John Appah, Prof Andy Wheeler and Luke O’Reilly (right)

The symposium saw researchers and scientists from all over the world come together across a wide array of disciplines to network and showcase the work that is being carried out in Submarine Canyons worldwide, ranging from Geology and seabed mapping, biology and conservation. Continue reading “INCISE 2018”

AggreWind survey

The AggreWind survey begins tomorrow on board the RV Celtic Voyager. This research cruise is combining two projects from the Marine Geology Research Group; 1) Aggregate Potential of Irish South Coast Offshore Palaeovalleys (AggrePOP) and 2) the Eirwind project.

The research cruise aims to acquire cores to test submerged valley models and to de-risk offshore aggregate potential as well as collecting MBES to re-risk offshore wind potential.

Our team is being lead by Post-Doctoral researcher Dr Jared Peters of the Eirwind project, and will consist of five other scientists.

We will be posting regular blogs/updates via twitter and our website, so keep a close watch!

The newest member of our team!

Our newest member of the team, PhD researcher Gerard Summers, joined the UCC Marine Geology Research Group last week under the MARPAMM project which stands for Marine Protected Areas Management and Monitoring. The project is looking to monitor existing Marine Protected Areas and the role of new technology with regards to this goal. The main focus of Gerard’s PhD is to match Benthic environments to protected marine species and further the understanding of their preferred habitats.

Gerard kicked off the first week of his PhD with an important partners meeting in the AFBI to initiate an exciting 4 year programme. The meeting focused on planning some collaborations on surveys with other partners within the MARPAMM project next year, hoping to begin collecting data.

Gerard Summers (Far left) and Professor Andy Wheeler at the MARPAMM set up meeting in Belfast last week.

Gerard has been a scientist on several research cruises with the Marine Geology Research Group already, and is without a doubt a great asset to our team!  Watch this space for further details on Gerard’s journey!

Video transects of Cold-water corals

Researcher John Appah has been working on short videos from ROV video transects of approximately 9km at depths of up to 1070 metres in the Porcupine Bank Canyon as part of his project.

The live Cold-water corals (CWC’s) in these videos occur around depths of 600-800 metres and are predominantly Lophelia Pertusa and Madrepora Oculata. But other organisms such as Paramuricea sp, Leiopathes sp and sponges are also present. 

John extracts images from the ROV videos and estimate abundance of the different coral species and their associated species by overlying a grid on the images. He also collects water samples and hydrographic variables in the vicinity of the corals to determine the influences on distribution of the corals.

Keep following our website for more updates on what John is discovering!

Minister John Halligan visits the school of BEES

We had a busy morning today with a visit from Minister John Halligan to the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences taking place. Minister Halligan is the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development.

We were fortunate enough to present our SFI Investigator Award Project on Cold-Water corals to the Minister during his visit.

Our showcase for Minister John Halligan 

Continue reading “Minister John Halligan visits the school of BEES”

We love delivery days!

We had a busy morning today, as our ADCP current metres arrived from Nortek Instruments Ltd. This delivery is part of our preparations for next summers research cruise.

Dr Aaron Lim holding our new ADCP’s. 

These current metres will be attached to our personally designed lander frames along side our sediment traps that came from Technicap. Next summer they will be deployed at various locations along the cold water coral mounds in the Porcupine Bank Canyon. Exciting times ahead!


A busy week so far!

We have had a busy week so far, with various training days taking place on our recently purchased equipment.

Frank and Christina Ratti from SARL Technicap visited us on Monday for a day of intensive training on our new sediment traps.This is the beginning of our preparation for next years research cruise, even though we are only back from off shore! Pictured below is some of our team with Frank and Christina and William. A room full of smiles, as the day was a success!

Continue reading “A busy week so far!”