CoCoHaCa2 update

We are over halfway through our cruise, with only five days to go. We arrived on site after a 31 hour transit and some bad weather last Wednesday. But thankfully the weather then calmed and we got started with our ROV Multibeam Echo Sounder (MBES) data collection.

Both of our teams are still working hard and I have been processing our ROV and Hull-mounted MBES data as it comes in.

Have a look at the raw ROV MBES data below of a line that was collected on Saturday. Continue reading “CoCoHaCa2 update”

CoCoHaCa2 on the RV Celtic Explorer


We travelled to Galway yesterday to board the RV Celtic Explorer for our research cruise that is titled ‘Controls on Cold Water Corals, Canyons and Seabed Habitat Mapping’ or CoCoHaCa2. The entire UCC Marine Geology Research Group is on board with Dr Aaron Lim as our Chief Scientist and PhD students Siobhán Burke and Luke O’Reilly as shift leaders, several biologists and Aedín from NUIG’s VOCAB project. We also have artist Carol Ann on board with us this year, who is carrying out an Art project for Galway 2020.

Pictured above: CoCoHaCa2 group. Photo credits: Vinny 

Continue reading “CoCoHaCa2 on the RV Celtic Explorer”

Our new Malvern Mastersizer 3000 is up and running!

Our new SFI, Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland funded Malvern Mastersizer 3000 was delivered last week, and we got it set up and running today thanks to Dr Manuel Kuhs from Particular Sciences.

Pictured above: Dr Manuel Kuhs talking about the Mastersizer 3000.

Professor Andy Wheeler and our Research assistant Kim along with fourth year student Paul Flemming got a brief training session on how it works, and are eager to get measuring samples in the coming days.

We can’t wait to see the results once some analysis begins!

Luke is away at sea!

PhD student Luke O’Reilly has been away at sea (more exclusively the Porcupine Seabight) for the past week with Prof. David van Rooij from Gent University and his assorted team on board the RV Belgica.

Luke on board the RV Belgica 

The survey is multipurpose: it is investigating mass-wasting deposits in the Gollum Channel system using ROV, CTD and Seismics. It will function in monitoring top predators during transects, which will give insights into possible population shifts in wildlife. It will also be used for gathering deep-water ocean samples for onshore oceanographic research (nitrate, ammonia, silicate, dissolved oxygen and CO2, turbidity, alkalinity and phytoplankton pigments).

So far, Luke has been in touch to say he’s getting on great with the crew. If you would like to follow his progress, you can find his twitter at @_LukeOReilly.

Moreover, Luke contributed to a cruise blog available here:


Aaron & Siobhán at GEOHAB 2018

Last week Dr Aaron Lim and PhD student Siobhán Burke travelled to Santa Barbara, California for GEOHAB’s (Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping) annual conference. They kept us updated on what they got up to during their visit. 🙂

Siobhán, Aaron and David O’Sullivan enjoying the sun in Santa Barbara

PhD student Siobhán Burke gave a talk during session 6 of the conference which focused on Marine Minerals. This was Siobhán’s first international talk of her amazing research she is doing here at UCC. It was titled “Exploration for Offshore Placer Deposits: Integrating Shallow Seismics with High Resolution Seabed Mapping Techniques- NW Mayo, Ireland”.

Siobhán during her first international research talk

Dr Aaron Lim gave two talks during session 9 of the conference which focused on Deep-Water Coral Habitats. The first talk Aaron presented based on his work titled “High Resolution Facies Zonation and Survey Design at a Deep-Water Coral Mound; the case of Piddington Mound Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic”. The second talk Aaron gave was introducing the amazing project being carried out by the team here at UCC “Mapping, Modelling and Monitoring Key Processes and Controls on Cold-water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons (MMMonKey_Pro), under Professor Andy Wheeler. Aaron even impressed the crowd with a video mosaic of a cold-water coral mound, while he explained habitat characterisation.

Aaron presenting his talk on the Piddington Mound

While Aaron and Siobhán were at GEOHAB 2018, they also soaked up the sun at the amazing beaches in Santa Barbara. (When they sent us these photos we were very jealous)!!

The GEOHAB 2018 conference saw geologists, biologists, acousticians, statisticians, spatial analysts and environmental managers from all around the world come together so that they could exchange knowledge and ideas in relation to ocean management and mapping. Below is Siobhán and Aaron with some fellow researchers that they met over there!

Siobhán and Aaron with fellow researchers at GEOHAB 2018.

More information on the conference can be found at the following link ->

PhD student Luke O’Reilly’s trip to Bremen, Germany.

This week, PhD student Luke O’Reilly from the UCC Marine Geology Research Group travelled to Bremen, Germany for the ECORD training course in MARUM. Luke explained the trip as an experience that “has given him a comprehensive insight into life aboard an IODP expedition”. Luke kept us up to date on what he got up to during his visit to MARUM.

An inside view of the Bremen Core Repository (BCR). This is one of the 3 IODP core storages worldwide, and is kept at 4°C to inhibit biological activity.

Luke got a full guided tour of Bremen Core Repository (BCR), which included amazing cores such as these VMS deposits from the South Atlantic.

While Luke was there, he got a helping hand with image processing on his CWC core data. A massive thanks to Dr. Jürgen Titschack for showing Luke the ropes on Amira!

Above is a x40 view of sorted sand containing various Radiolaria species from a Subtropical setting off Lesser Antilles. Here, biostratigraphy was used on different intervals of the core, which then constructed a range chart. This functioned in pinpointing the Oligocene-Eocene boundary, using specific Radiolaria marker fossils.

Keep following our website for more updates on Luke’s research 🙂

UCC Marine Geology Research Group at MaREI workshop

Professor Andy Wheeler, Dr Aaron Lim and PhD student John Appah from the UCC Marine Geology Research Group accompanied by  Professor Luis Conti from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil travelled to the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy’s (MaREI) Beaufort Building in Cork Harbour for a workshop to showcase what the group was doing.

The workshop, carried out by MaREI, consisted of researchers from MaREI, the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) here at UCC showcasing their work and networking with others on marine biology and ecology capacity. Below are some photos!

Professor Andy Wheeler presented a brief introduction in to each project within the research group, such as the MMMonkey_Pro project that is funded by SFI and the Moira Mounds project that is being carried out with two MSc students in Marine Biology and the University of Sao Paulo. Great work guys! 🙂




UCC Marine Geology Research Group in the Irish Times

A recent article from the Irish Times featuring coverage on the alarming changes that are occurring in deep water coral reefs along the Porcupine Seabight.

Within this article Dr Aaron Lim outlines that “assuming the change continues at this rate, then in 20 years the reef will entirely change”, highlighting the importance of studying such habitats.

The full article can be found at: