Luke O’Reilly

Luke O’ Reilly, BSc (Hons)

Position: PhD Researcher

email: | twitter: @_LukeOReilly


Luke O’Reilly is a PhD student in the UCC Marine Geology Research Group. Graduating with a BSc in Geology from University College Cork in 2017, he joined the research group in January 2018 under the supervision of Prof. Andy Wheeler. Luke’s research ‘Understanding Key Geological Processes and Controls on Cold-water Coral Habitat Development in Submarine Canyons’ is part of the MMMonKey_Pro project, and is aimed at investigating the temporal dynamics of paleo-cold-water coral habitats on the Irish Porcupine Bank Canyon, with special attention to reef cessation and initiation. His interests include micropaleontology, oceanography, invertebrate zoology, and sedimentology.


Luke currently works as a PhD researcher on the MMMonKey_Pro programme. Luke’s project within the programme is focused on the temporal habitat development and dynamics within the Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic. The project uses ROV-guided vibro cores, CT-scanning, micro-fossils and geochemical techniques to determine the growth history of coral habitats, palaeo-canyon processes and coral tallus deposits as archives within the canyon.

Research Cruises

CE19014 – Monitoring Changes in Submarine Canyon Coral Habitats II (Day shift leader)

CE19008 – Monitoring Changes in Submarine Canyon Coral Habitats I (Night shift leader)

CE18011 – Controls of Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons II (Night shift leader).

RV Belgica 2018/14 – GOLLUM: Research into the potential for “silent tsunamis” generated through mass-wasting in the Gollum Canal System, offshore SW Ireland.

RH17002 – Controls of Cold-Water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons.

CV17020 – Quantifying Irish Marine Placer Resources.


BEES Education and Public Engagement (EPE) Prize 2020 – based on my involvement in numerous, diverse and/or innovative EPE activities across a 12 month period. Luke was the inaugural winner of this award which included postdoctoral researchers.

Best Presentation – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2020

Bill Watts 14CHRONO Award 2019 – Awarded 3 AMS dates on behalf of the Irish Quaternary Association

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2019 for the amount of €750

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2018 for the amount of €1200

Networking and Travel Award – Marine Institute 2018 for the amount of €551

Honourable mention (Poster Presentation) – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2019

Honourable Mention (Poster Presentation) – Irish Geological Research Meeting 2018

College Scholar – 2015/16  |  2016/17 –  Awarded  by University College Cork on the basis of his undergraduate results

Best Student 2016 – The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland – The Society’s departmental representatives award students with the highest rankings in Mineralogy & Petrology

Coverage/ Outreach 

RTÉ interview:Élukeoreilly

iCRAGorama podcast episode:

Luke’s YouTube:


O’Reilly, L.G.R., Meere, P.A. (2017). Building a chronology of hydrothermal vein suites, using field evidence and microthermometry, in Allihies.

Recent Publications

Wheeler, A.J., Lim, A., Butschek, F., O’Reilly, L. & O’Driscoll, P. (2021). The “Little MonSta” deep-sea benthic, precision deployable, multi-sensor and sampling lander array. Sensors, 213355. doi: 10.3390/s21103355 

Lim, A., Wheeler, A.J., Price, D., O’Reilly, L., Harris, K. & Conti, C. (2020). Influence of benthic currents on cold-water coral habitats in the upper Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic: a combined benthic monitoring and 3D photogrammetric investigation.NatureScience Reports(2020) 10:19433.

Appah, J.K.M., Lim, A., Harris, K., O’Riordan, R., O’Reilly, L. and Wheeler, A.J., (2020). Are non-reef habitats as important to benthic diversity and composition as coral reef and rubble habitats in submarine canyons? Analysis of controls on benthic megafauna distribution in the Porcupine Bank Canyon, NE Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science.