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Seminar Information

Title: ‘Corals in Deep Water – challenges and opportunities for marine technology’
Date: Thu 12 Nov 2009
Time: 14:00
Location: EM2.33
Speaker: Professor Murray Roberts
School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University
Description: Cold-water corals vary from single solitary corals to large reef framework-forming scleractinian species. The latter, and long-lived octocorals and black corals, form structurally complex habitats on the continental shelf, slope, offshore banks and seamounts where studies over the last ten years have shown them to form local centres of species diversity and important archives of palaeoceanographic information. This talk will describe the history of research on cold-water corals, the approaches used and the exciting advances in our understanding of these largely neglected biodiverse deep-seas habitats. Recent work on the Mingulay Reef Complex in the Sea of the Hebrides will be summarised and used to illustrate how almost all aspects of our understanding of deep-sea ecology rely on marine technology. The talk will outline relevant marine survey techniques using acoustic (e.g. multibeam echosounder and sidescan sonar surveys) and visual approaches (e.g. manned submersibles and ROVs) and focus on the importance of in situ observations made from autonomous benthic landers equipped with oceanographic instruments and time-lapse camera systems.

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