iCRAG Principal Investigator Prof. Andy Wheeler, and Funded Investigator Prof. Sergei Lebedev has received Investigator Awards worth more than €2 million.
Co-funded by SFI, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI), the research will examine new cutting technologies and methodologies to study the deep seabed including tsunami threat and climate change impacts on our cold water corals.
Prof. Wheeler: Mapping, Modelling and Monitoring Key Processes and Controls on Cold-water Coral Habitats in Submarine Canyons (MMMonKey_Pro) [€874,329.00]
Submarine canyons in the deep ocean are rich environments supporting fisheries and oil reservoirs although often closed for conservation. One such canyon, the Irish Porcupine Bank Canyon (PBC) supports deep-water coral reefs and is studied here as an example of others. We use advanced robotic technology and novel 3D visualisation tools to explore and monitor the PBC defining seabed processes that dictate where corals occur and their sensitivity to climate change and fisheries/oil industry impacts. Recommendations for sustainable responsible fisheries and hydrocarbon activity and for effective management during climate change will be defined to the benefit of society.
Prof. Lebedev: Structure, evolution and seismic hazard of the Irish offshore: An investigation using the first broadband, ocean-bottom seismometer deployment offshore Ireland [€1,248,989]
90% of Ireland’s territory is offshore. This underwater territory contains vast natural resources but also hazards: Ireland’s offshore earthquakes are its largest and can trigger undersea landslides, causing tsunamis. In this project we will deploy, for the first time, an array of ocean-bottom, broadband seismometers offshore Ireland. Together with dense existing arrays onshore, the array will cover the entire Irish territory. The unique new data will yield important insights into basin-evolution processes, the origins of the volcanism that formed the Giant’s Causeway and other geological landmarks, the offshore-seismicity distribution and hazard, and the development of conventional and geothermal energy resources.
Speaking on receipt of the award, Prof. Lebedev said, "I am delighted to receive this significant award and appreciate the support for the new research offshore from the SFI, GSI and the Marine Institute. This will allow us to instrument the entire Irish offshore territory with broadband ocean bottom seismometers, revealing deep geological structure and evolution at a new level of detail and yielding important new information on the natural resource development and natural hazards."