HWU Industry day 2012


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Poster presented at 2011 Heriot-Watt University Industry Day

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HWU Industry day 2012

  1. 1. Changing Oceans: Working in Deep Marine Environments Hennige SJ, Wicks LC , Henry L, Navas JM, Roberts JM Cold Water Coral Reefs Mapping Biodiversity in Marine Protected Areas Cold-water corals reefs are among the most three- dimensionally complex deep-sea habitats known. Acoustic remote sensing technology is vital to Predicted rises in atmospheric CO2 concentration cold-water coral biodiversity research at Heriot- which result in a drop in ocean pH (Ocean Acidifi- Watt. Multibeam echosounder, sidescan sonar and cation), and predicted rises in sea temperature seismic surveys provide information about seabed place these key ecosystems at considerable risk. bathymetry, texture and composition, data which These systems support a vast array of associated are then used to model relationships between bio-diversity, so in order to predict their future fate, biodiversity and environmental settings on estab- increased biological understanding has to be lished or proposed marine protected areas in coupled with accurate in situ mapping and sensing. areas including the Darwin Mounds, Hatton Bank and the Mingulay Reef Complex. Lophelia pertusa polyps and reef forming colonies A multibeam scan showing a 3D image of coral mounds at Mingulay (left) and a picture of the typical diversity observed on such reefs (right) Accessing deep habitats These coral ecosystems are between 40 and 3000m deep, and as such, specialist equipment is needed to inspect and sample from these habitats. This in- cludes submersibles, such as JAGO, or Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). These vehicles are equipped with multibeam echosounders, high defi- nition cameras and manipulator arms, to measure and collect samples on a broad or fine-scale. Ecohydrodynamic modelling Ecohydrodynamic approaches are being used to de- scribe the physical constraints which effect biologi- The sophisticated vehicles needed to access and observe these deep ecosystems cal and chemical conditions over the Mingulay Coral Reef Complex, Outer Hebrides. Thse communities Sensing technology rely on the delivery of food from the sea surface, so a 3D ocean model coupled to a particle tracking Accurate, quick and robust sensors are a key model is being used to assess water exchange and aspect of ongoing research in deep-sea habitats. renewal in this Reef complex. However, commerically avavilable sensors are often not suitable for deployment in conjunction with an ROV due to their size, slow reaction times and sensor platform. A recent review by Heriot- Watt on current state of the art technology identi- fied Ion Sensitive Field Effect Transistors (ISFETs) as a potential route to improve upon current tech-Contact nologies to rapidly assess in situ carbonate chemis-s.hennige@hw.ac.ukj.m.roberts@hw.ac.uk try.Centre for Marine Biodiversity &Biotechnology, School of Life An ecohydrodynamic model of the Mingulay Reef Complex, Outer HebridesSciences, Heriot-Watt University, For more information Acknowledgements Heriot-Watt University’s Environment and Climate Change theme. Heriot-Watt University FLEDGE III ProgrammeEdinburgh, Scotland, EH14 4AS Roberts et al. (2006) Reefs of the deep: the biology and geology of cold-water coral ecosystems. Science 312: 543 The UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme. EPOCA Roberts et al. (2009) Cold-water Corals: The Biology and Geology of Deep-sea Coral Habitats. Cambridge Uni. Press HERMIONET: +44 (0) 131 451 3463 Royal Society of EdinburghF: +44 (0) 131 451 3009 www.lophelia.org