iCRAG Co-Principal Investigator Prof. Andy Wheeler is currently aboard the RV Celtic Explorer in the North Atlantic as part of the QuERCI II survey. As part of the survey, Prof. Wheeler and his team are examining the corals as archives of environmental change by biogeochemically analysing their growth rings. Understanding changes in the seabed environment (temperature, nutrients, pH) over decadal timescales helps to understand how variable the seabed environment is over the same kind of timescales that an oil platform may operate for example. We need to understand the background conditions if we are to ensure that changes are natural as opposed to caused by human intervention. Postdoctoral researcher Dr Zsuzsanna Toth and PhD researcher Kevin Power (both iCRAG at UCC) are also aboard the trip.
Pictured in the image: A Parantipathes sp. with smaller black coral (orange in the photo) and Lophelia pertusa in the back next to the iCRAG logo at 670m water depth.
Further information is available from Andy’s Scientist At Sea blog: http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.no/