Interview with British Researcher Chris Yesson

The second in our series of interviews, Dr. Chris Yesson, Institute of Zoology,  Zoological Society of London speaks about habitat suitability modelling of cold water corals and his team’s work as part of the CoralFISH FP7 project. He discusses his work the to identify suitable habitats for octocorals and stony corals from the North Atlantic and globally.  Interview carried out at the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum, National University of Ireland, Galway. For more information please see the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London website.


Special thanks go to Dr. Chris Yesson for permission for inclusion of this interview in this blog.

Interview with Icelandic Ecologist Julian Burgos

Benthic ecologist Julian Burgos, Marine Research Institute, Iceland, gives us a rare perspective about cold water corals living in Icelandic deep waters and his team’s work as part of the CoralFISH FP7 project. CoralFISH is assessing the interaction between cold water corals, fish and fisheries, in order to develop monitoring and predictive modelling tools for ecosystem based management in the deep waters of Europe and beyond. More information about the findings of the study can be found on the CoralFISH website.


Special thanks go to Dr. Julian Burgos for permission for inclusion of this interview in this blog.

African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health

Hundreds of millions of tons of mineral dust are transported thousands of miles through the atmosphere from the Sahara and Sahel of Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas every year.

This video discusses whether African dust is playing a role in coral reef declines throughout the Caribbean region, and if African dust has a negative effect on human health. If so, what processes are involved?

Stay tuned for a related post about iron fertilisation experiments to trigger phytoplankton blooms in the North Pacific, where sands of the Sahara are not present.

Cold water corals, carbonate mounds and ocean currents

Coral reefs are usually associated with warm, tropical waters and exotic fish, but not with the cold, deep and dark waters of the North Atlantic where corals were regarded as oddities on the seafloor. It is now known that cold-water coral species also produce reefs, which may rival their tropical cousins in terms of the species richness of associated marine life. Increasing commercial operations in deep waters, and the use of advanced offshore technology have slowly revealed the true extent of Europe’s hidden coral ecosystems. The discovery of extraordinary, 10 km-long chains of the reef-building corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata in several hundred metres of water on the Norwegian and Irish Shelves have deeply challenged conventional views. The same coral assemblages are also found associated with large seabed structures in the Porcupine Seabight (offshore Ireland), where they are so abundant that their skeletal remains have, over the millennia, contributed to carbonate mound structures up to 300m high in 700-1200m water depths. The potential of cold-water corals to contribute to the formation of these large seafloor features and their high biological diversity have attracted considerable public attention through reports in numerous national TV and newspaper features.

via University of Liverpool

Coinciding with World Oceans Day, Prof. David van Rooij, Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), Dept. of Geology and Soil Science, Ghent University, Belgium gave a seminar today in Galway, entitled “Go with the flow: Impact of the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) on NE Atlantic sedimentary processes and ecosystems.” The talk particularly focused on the colonisation of Atlantic margins by cold-water corals since the end of the last Ice Age and how variation in the MOW explains the current distribution pattern of carbonate mounds found, for example, in Irish waters. See also the website for some more background on cold water corals and carbonate mound provinces.


Special thanks go to Prof. David van Rooij for permission for inclusion of his seminar in this blog.

Image Credit

1) Map of some carbonate mound provinces in North East Atlantic, University of Liverpool.

And finally: