GATEWAYS Activity Update 23/04/2012

A pre-planned programme of intensive groundthruthing sample collection got underway on the morning of the 23rd April following an overnight sailing west along the coast to Dunmanus Bay, Cork.

Dunmanus Bay is the centre of an ongoing researchcollaboration between the Xavi Monteys, INFOMAR (GSI) and the group of Dr Brian Kelleher & Shane O’Reilly of DCU endeavor into sediment substrates and the genesis and significance of the pockmark field there.

An extensive grab sampling campaign will allow a statistically robust classification of backscatter acoustic (sonar) reflectance information to be made for this and possibly similar substrate types around the Irish coasts.  Sea-floor substrates (e.g. mud, sand, shell hash, rock)  are important ecosystem determinants and thus of vital importance to marine management actions and usages (e.g. conservation, aquaculture, strategic infrastructure planning. See : The EU Marine Directive ).

A possible fairer-weather window for the Celtic shelf was on the cards for the night of the 23rd and the 24th…

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