Deep-sea corals

When we think of corals, for most people this brings up colorful views of clear blue waters and colorful tropical reefs around which swim a multitude of exotic fish.  However, these are not the only coral reefs present in our ocean, there are highly productive and extensive reefs in the colder and deeper waters of our oceans. Continue reading →

Grand Canyons

Terrestrial canyons like the Grand Canyon, USA are spectacular geomorphic features carved out over millions of years by river erosion. They can extend for many hundreds of kilometres, have a width of up to 29 Km, and be as deep as 6 Km. However, the submerged margins of continental landmasses are also host to huge canyons systems; the scale of which can rival canyons on land. These submarine canyons extend from the shallow shelf down the deep oceans, and are host to a wide diversity of life. Continue reading →

Cruising – What scientists get up to out at sea

Back in November and December 2016 I went out on a cruise on the National Oceanography Centre's very own RRS Discovery! We spent three weeks off the North-West African coast, just south of the Canary Islands. The main objective of the cruise was to test the piston coring system and train the crew in how to use the equipment to get ready for a full research cruise early in 2018 in the South Atlantic. Continue reading →

Why getting dirty is good for all of us

Darwin extolled the virtues and dedicated his last works to it, few places on Earth are without it, and there is little doubt that human well-being benefits tremendously from it, but what is bioturbation?   It is sobering to think that at any time of day or night an army of invertebrates actively modify the soils and sediments beneath our feet, something that they have been doing for millions of years and which most people take for granted. Continue reading →

My Research – North Africa and the Oceans

During my PhD at Southampton I am researching how North African climate has varied over the last few hundred thousand years. With predicted changes in future climate it is important to understand how these may impact upon Africa. For example, it is possible that slower Atlantic Ocean circulation will lead to reduced rainfall in North Africa.  This could cause extended periods of drought, which could, in turn, lead to increased migration out of the region. Continue reading →

Limpets – My Favourite!

People often ask "So what do you work on?" and pre 2012 whenever I replied "On Limpets" they would get very excited and say "What the OYLIMPICS!!!" and I would then get a barrage of questions about how to acquire tickets!!! Thankfully since London 2012 that's all calmed down a bit. My lovely limpy, limpy do da's - that's the limpet song which can be heard being sung on rocky shores up and down the country by people dressed in rubber! Its a glamorous  job. Continue reading →

On board the James Cook, heading to some black smokers in the middle of the Atlantic

Last Summer , I took part in the most wonderful adventure of my scientific life (so far!) , two back-to-back cruises on a hydrothermal field located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (where the oceanic tectonic plates are formed and go apart). This field is the very well known TAG Hydrothermal Field. Photo: location of the TAG Hydrothermal Field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 26 degrees North. (Google Earth credit) The first cruise was on board a German ship, the Meteor. Continue reading →