My PhD project is part of the SANDBOX project, which aims to contribute knowledge and tools to facilitate the design and implementation of sustainable solutions and methodologies for offshore operations such as sand mining and wind farm construction. I'm studying the 2-way feedback between benthic macrofauna and geomorphology of the North Sea seafloor to determine the interactions of benthic organisms along various seabed features, and how they might influence processes such as ripple formation, erosion and incorporation of fines into the sediment. These investigations are ongoing through both field campaigns and laboratory experiments, and anticipated to be continued in the future with the racetrack flume and/or additional cruises. Some research questions to address include: (a) Macrofauna distribution patterns (abundance and diversity, etc.) along various bedforms types, (b) Categorization of macrofauna into useful functional groups, (c) The influences of these dominant groups on the sediment parameters, which can affect seabed stability and (d) How offshore construction can be modified to minimize environmental impacts and enable recovery of target communities.
Stormy conditions during the first leg of the June cruise to the North Sea on the RV-Pelagia.