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Distribution • What is the current distribution of coral colonies in the North Sea? • Where are coral colonies located on the structures? • Do any colonies show evidence of exposure to drill cuttings? Monitoring & Environmental Recording • What hydrodynamic regime and levels of suspended particulate material are coral colonies exposed to? • Does the coral skeleton retain an archive of any past contamination? • Does skeletal growth vary over time and does this correlate with any past contamination? • How variable is the rate of coral growth and does this correlate with any environmental variables? Environmental Sensitivity • What effect does increased sediment load have on coral behaviour and physiology? • What effect does exposure to discharges (e.g. cuttings and produced water) have on coral behaviour and physiology? • Are such exposures realistic in the field?
1. To quantify benthic community parameters for all size classes of fauna across the Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) 2. To make a detailed assessment across the OMZ of a) sediment accumulation, mixing and irrigation rates and depths and b) environmental factors acting as controls on faunal activity 3. To characterise solid phase and porewater geochemistry of sediments across the OMZ 4. To assess a) faunal digestive Organic Matter (OM) alteration, b) the relative importance of chemo- and photosynthetic food sources, and c) benthic food web structure, across the OMZ 5. To determine porewater profiles and benthic solute fluxes in situ, and to assess faunal OM assimilation and trophic relationships by monitoring tracers during shipboard and in situ incubations 6. To obtain high resolution porewater profiles of oxygen and other key analytes, free of pressure and other effects potentially introduced by core recovery 7. To determine in situ oxygen consumption rates and benthic fluxes 8. To use labelled tracers to assess mixing and irrigation rates, faunal OM assimilation, and size-selective ingestion and mixing 9.To determine sediment denitrification and sulfate reduction rates and their contributions to OM remineralisation
1. To compare temporal influences of environmental variables (e.g. depth temperature, contaiminats) on species and families 2. To corroborate inferences made from the previous two datasets. We hope to determine whether temperature is still the most important variable influencing the macrofauna 3. To analyse between temporal and spatial trends to determine whether there has been any significant change in the benthic community structure, especially at stations near past exploration activity 4. To compare results with those from the South of the Faroe Islands being collated by Daniel Jacobsen of the University of Copenhagen.
Objective 1: To map the structural and genetic variability, the framework-constructing potential, and the longevity of Deep Water Coral (DWC) ecosystems Objective 2: To assess hydrographic and other local physical forcing factors affecting Benthic Boundary Layer (BBL) sediment particle dynamics and POC supply in the vicinity of DWC ecosystems Objective 3: To describe the DWC ecosystem, its dynamics and functioning; investigate coral biology and behaviour and assess coral sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic stressors Objective 4: To assign a sensitivity code, identify the major conservation issues (and increase public awareness), and make recommendations for the sustainable use of the DWC ecosystem
1. To develop a deep water observation system 2. Detailed design document, workplan and risk register and reviewed and agreed by steering group, procurement of components. 3. Deep water tests of acoustic communications system performed. pilot data dissemination and archival system. Dry test DWOS -1 4. Deployment in near lab test environment eg. Dunstaffnage bay with regular inspections. Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data 5. Deploy in exposed but coastal stratified site in western Irish Sea, with two visual inspections. Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data. Liaison with Met Office regarding deployment logistics. 6. Six months Deployment at Deep Water site; Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data; Distribute data to customers. Revisit mooring site after six months recover and redeploy. 7. Final Technical Report and Final Project Report: Second six months Deployment at Deep Water site (as decreed by steering group); Collect, analyse, disseminate and archive sensor and house keeping data. Analysis of complete data handling chain performed; impact of data on customer base assessed, recommendations for continuance of DWOS as an operational system.
1. To provide detailed oceanographic support and navigation trials in the Western Mediterranean