The Moira Mounds



The Moira Mounds are small-sized cold water coral reefs found within the Belgica Mound Province, NE Atlantic at 600 m to 1100 m water depth. They range in height from 3 m to 15 m and are occur in very dense clusters. They can be divided into 4 groups (the northern area, the down-slope area, the mid-slope area and the up-slope area) based on their geographic distribution. The mid-slope Moira Mounds are described as “sediment-stressed” and are thought to represent an early-stage start-up phase to the surrounding giant Belgica Mounds. The down-slope Moira Mounds are the most “active” Moira Mounds, occurring within a blind channel, cut-off from the rest of the Moira Mounds.

The Piddington Mound, one of the Moira Mounds in the down-slope area, is the first cold-water coral reef to be 100% imaged by video. This data was navigated into a reef-scale video-mosaic, allowing the creation of a reef-scale habitat zonation model.

The Marine Geology Research Group have been researching the Moira Mounds for almost 15 years. Funding for this research was supplied by the Irish Research Council Graduate of Ireland Scholarship (Lim) and College of SEFS, UCC funding (Wheeler).


Group Contributors

Dr Aaron Lim

Prof Andy Wheeler

Dr Maxim Kozachenko




Lim, A., Kane, A., Arnaubec, A., Wheeler, A.J., 2018. Seabed image acquisition and survey design for cold water coral mound characterisation. Marine Geology 395, 22-32,

Lim, A., Wheeler, A.J., Arnaubec, A., 2017. High-resolution facies zonation within a cold-water coral mound: The case of the Piddington Mound, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic. Marine Geology 390, 120-130,

Lim, A., 2017. Spatio-temporal patterns and controls on cold-water coral reef development: the Moira Mounds, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. University College Cork, Cork Open Research Archive, p. 221,

Wheeler, A.J., Kozachenko, M., Henry, L.A., Foubert, A., de Haas, H., Huvenne, V.A.I., Masson, D.G., Olu, K., 2011. The Moira Mounds, small cold-water coral banks in the Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic: Part A—an early stage growth phase for future coral carbonate mounds? Marine Geology 282, 53-64, 10.1016/j.margeo.2010.08.006.

Foubert, A.T.G., Huvenne, V.A.I., Wheeler, A.J., Kozachenko, M., Opderbecke, J., Henriet, J.-P., 2011. The Moira Mounds, small cold-water coral mounds in the Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic: Part B – Evaluating the impact of sediment dynamics through high-resolution ROV-borne bathymetric mapping Marine Geology 282, 65-78, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2011.02.008

Kozachenko, M., 2005. Present and Past Environments of the Belgica Mounds (deep-water coral carbonate mounds) Eastern Porcupine Seabight, North East Atlantic (unpublished PhD Thesis), Department of Geography and Geology. University College Cork, Cork, p. 221.

Foubert, A.T.G., Beck, T., Wheeler, A.J., Opderbecke, J., Grehan, A., Klages, M., Thiede, J., Henriet, J.-P., Polarstern ARK-XIX/3a shipboard party, 2005. New view of the Belgica Mounds, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic: preliminary results from the Polarstern ARK-XIX/3a ROV cruise, in: Freiwald, A., Roberts, J.M. (Eds.), Deep-water corals and Ecosystems, . Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 403-415.

Wheeler, A.J., Kozachenko, M., Beyer, A., Foubert, A.T.G., Huvenne, V.A.I., Klages, M., Masson, D.G., Olu-Le Roy, K., Thiede, J., 2005. Sedimentary processes and carbonate mounds in the Belgica Mound province, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic, in: Freiwald, A., Roberts, J.M. (Eds.), Cold-water Corals



Irish Research Council Graduate of Ireland Scholarship

College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, University College Cork