|Institution:||University of Bremen|
|Room:||MARUM II, room 3260|
|Phone:||+49 421 218-65849|
|Other webpage(s):||Leonardo's MARUM web page|
Spatio-temporal distribution of cold-water corals and coral mounds in SE Atlantic
Cold-water corals (CWC) are the engineers of large deep-sea ecosystems and form unique biodiversity hotspots along most of the world's continental margins. However, only recently the significance of CWC (also on a global scale) has been revealed triggered by the progress in deep-sea technologies. CWC have the capability to construct significant large seabed structures known as cold-water coral mounds. Present knowledge about CWC and coral mounds regarding their formation and development through time, their spatial distribution, their ecology and their sensitivity to environmental change derived mainly from studies in the North Atlantic Ocean. For other regions, in particular in the low latitudes, only few scattered reports of CWC exist. One example, for a low latitude CWC site is the upwelling area off Angola and Namibia. The knowledge about the occurrence of CWC in this area was rather sparse. However, recent hydroacoustic campaigns revealed extended areas showing numerous seabed structures, which resemble coral mounds of the NE Atlantic. The M122 cruise in early 2016 has conducted a survey and sampling programme in the Angolan-Namibian offshore in order to:
(a) investgate the hydroacoustically detected seabed structures formed by CWC;
(b) investigate their spatial distribution, their vitality and the prevailing environmental setting;
(c) reconstruct the spatio-temporal development of these ecosystems.
Using material (acoustic data, ROV video footage, surface and core sediments) newly collected from the Namibian and Angolan continental margins during the M122 research cruise, the present Ph.D. project aims to reconstruct the spatial and temporal distribution of CWC and the formation and development of coral mounds with special emphasis on describing their geological characteristics in this region in response to changing environmental conditions.
|Prof. Dr. Dierk Hebbeln||University of Bremen|
|Dr. Claudia Wienberg||University of Bremen|
|Dr. Jürgen Titschack||University of Bremen|
|Dr. Furu Mienis||Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research|