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Title: Ecological and environmental controls on the fine-scale distribution of cold-water corals in the North-East Atlantic
Author: De Clippele, Laurence Helene
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 7196
Awarding Body: Heriot-Watt University
Current Institution: Heriot-Watt University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis integrated acoustic, high-definition video and hydrodynamic data to study the distribution, morphology and ecology of cold-water corals (CWC) in the Mingulay Reef area (Chapter 2), the Tisler Reef area (Chapter 3) and the Logachev Mound area (Chapter 4). A new British Geological Survey (BGS) ArcGIS seabed mapping toolbox was developed and quantified semi-automatically the morphometric and acoustic characteristics of CWC reefs. Over 500 Lophelia pertusa reef mounds were delineated and characterised at the Mingulay Reef Complex (Chapter 2), 14 at the Tisler Reef (Norway) (Chapter 3) and 123 in the Logachev Area (Chapter 4). These reefs all had large amounts of small round-shaped mounds. Additionally, the Logachev area had very large dendriform-shaped mounds. A microbathymetric grid of the central area of the Mingulay Reef was used to identify individual live coral colonies (1-7 m) that provided data to predict the likelihood of presence of live coral colonies on biogenic reef mounds (Chapter 2). The distribution and morphology of L. pertusa colonies and the sponges Mycale lingua and Geodia sp. within the Tisler Reef, revealed the importance of local hydrodynamics and substrate availability (Chapter 3). Non-scleractinian corals associated with the Logachev mounds (Chapter 4) proved to be abundant, biodiverse and function as a habitat for associated organisms. Differences in their distribution were found to be related to food supply, the availability and stability of settling substrates. This thesis showed that the BGS Seabed Mapping Toolbox is useful to study the ecology and morphology of reef mounds within and between reefs. Studies on the fine-scale spatial distribution of corals within reefs provided information on the ecology of CWCs.
Supervisor: Roberts, Murray Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available