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Welcome to the website of the SEDCoral project :

“the Sedimentary Environment of Deep-water Corals”

A project funded by the European Union Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship programme contract nr MEIF-CT-2004-009412

 

Corals are generally associated with warm and shallow (sub)tropical seas, but that doesn’t need to be! Many species are adopted to a life in cold and dark waters, and do not rely on sunlight and symbiosis with algae for their food supply. They are pure filter feeders.

Some of those deep-water corals (also referred to as ‘cold-water corals’), are found to build impressive reef or mound structures along the European continental margin. Typical species with such behaviour are Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata, and the reefs they create are home to rich ecosystems. However, several reefs are damaged due to human impact, and are in need of protection.

In order to support conservation measures, a better insight into the working of those cold-water coral reefs is necessary. Scientific research over the last 15 years has shown that the environment in which the corals live, is very important. Especially the current regime and seabed sediment transport processes are major factors. They determine if the corals survive or not, and if they create large reefs or small mounds and patches.

The aim of the SEDCoral project is to provide a detailed characterisation of the sedimentary environment of some of those cold-water coral mounds, in order to better understand its influence on the growth, the building capacity and recolonisation capacity of the cold-water corals.