The main aim of our research is to better understand the processes controlling recent sedimentation in deep-water environments in order to improve paleoceanographic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions based on sedimentary archives. Our group has two main lines of research:
Sediment dynamics in deep-water environments: This line of research studies the sedimentary processes that control seafloor morphology and sediment distribution in the deep sea, with a special focus on deposits generated by oceanic currents. We are also interested in the sedimentary processes transporting sediments from the continent to the deep sea and the effect of oceanic circulation in this transfer of sediment. For instance, we study how oceanic currents interact with turbidity currents and affect the morphology and evolution of submarine channels. We use a multidisciplinary approach to study sedimentary processes in the deep sea that combines observations of natural systems using geophysical data, sediment cores and oceanographic data; with hydrodynamic modelling and flume-tank experiments.
Bedform fields - hydrodynamics, sediment transport and geomorphology: Bedforms (ripples, dunes, sand waves) are ubiquitous in shallow water sandy environments. They form from the interaction between hydrodynamics (river, tidal and wind or wave-related currents and waves) and a mobile bed. Bedforms are active morphodynamic elements which both reflect and influence hydrodynamic, sediment transport and geomorphology at various spatiotemporal scales. The study of their presence, size, movement and interactions with hydrodynamics is directly relevant for a wide range of fundamental and applied research. We study bedforms (mainly dunes) in a variety of environments (river, estuarine, tidal and marine) using a range of techniques (field measurements, flume experiments and numerical modelling).
Coccolithophores ecology and climate proxies: Coccolithophores are a group of marine, unicellular algae. Their morphology is characterized by an exoskeleton composed of numerous minute calcite platelets - the coccoliths - that are readily preserved in the sedimentary record. Coccolithophores are one of the main groups of marine phytoplankton playing key roles in the marine ecosystem as primary producers and in marine biogeochemistry, and preserve the composition of the overlying water mass conditions. Since coccoliths are phenomenally abundant in sea-floor sediments, they are valuable indicators of the paleoenvironment and of climate-induced paleoproductivity changes.
A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, lead by our visiting PhD student Kaiqi Yu and with the participation of Elda Miramontes, shows how bottom currents can elongate pockmarks and form channels.