Dr Mark Coughlan
- Research Fellow
Dr Mark Coughlan is a Research Fellow in the iCRAG geohazards research spoke under the supervision of Dr Mike Long, working in conjunction with Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd. Mark graduated with a BSc in Geology from University College Cork in 2009. He completed his PhD in Marine Geology in 2014, also from University College Cork, having spent a one-year placement at the MARUM Centre, University of Bremen. Following his PhD, Mark spent three years working for renewable energy developers Gaelectric as a Project Manager in their Offshore Wind Section and as a Project Geologist on the Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) project at Islandmagee. Since 2018, he has been at iCRAG and is currently a Research Fellow in the Geohazards and Geoengineering Research Challenge where he has collaborated with academic and industry experts in geotechnics, geophysics, biogeochemistry, glacial geomorphology, oceanography, computational fluid dynamics and numerical modelling.
His research focuses on changes in the seabed over different timescales and the sustainable use of the seabed to address climate change issues. His general research interests include:
- Quaternary history of the NW European shelf:
- Seabed morphodynamics linked to glacial processes;
- Offshore Quaternary stratigraphy and its geotechnical properties.
- Seafloor and shallow sub-seafloor geological characterisation:
- Sediment mobility and seabed dynamics related to safely deploying engineering infrastructure.
- Scour processes at seabed obstacles.
- Sub-surface fluid flow and escape at the seafloor.
- Effective use and management of the seabed:
- Constraint mapping for offshore renewable energy development
- Anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment
Project Title: Optimising Seabed Mapping Products and Geotechnical Characterisation Techniques for Offshore Renewable Energy in Ireland (SCORE)
The Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2019 targets at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy for Ireland by 2030 with the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) identifying a long-term potential of 70 GW of offshore renewable energy (ORE) within 100 km of the Irish coastline. The common challenge in developing ORE is the variable geological structure and dynamics of the seabed. There is a clear need for detailed geological mapping and geotechnical assessments to support the siting of ORE, either through direct developer support or the establishment of offshore development zonation. His research focuses on answering the following central research question: What are the key seabed characteristics affecting potential offshore wind deployment in Ireland?
The INFOMAR programme delivers key geophysical and geological datasets that are of value to the offshore renewable energy industry, a key sector which is rapidly growing in Ireland in response to the Climate Action Plan. However, there is a paucity of geotechnical data regarding Ireland’s offshore deposits and a number of geological and engineering challenges exist, including shallow gas, scour, heterogeneous glacial units and mobile bedforms which could hamper the siting and development of such infrastructure. Augmenting the INFOMAR data with predictive tools, geotechnical measurements and repeat survey data and is an effective way of developing more robust ground models at an early project stage that allows a holistic view of an offshore zone or site to be determined. The SCORE project aims to undertake stakeholder engagement and extensive offshore surveys to address these challenges and deliver robust tools and datasets for use in front-end engineering.
- Postdoctoral Researcher
- Earth Science in Society
- Geohazards and Geoengineering