Being initially based in Western Scotland at the Scottish Association for Marine Science/UHI campus I gained my BSc (Hons) Marine Science with Arctic Studies. During this time I spent a year studying in the Arctic tundra of Svalbard. Whilst there I was particularly interested in the marine and terrestrial geology.
Bringing this first-hand knowledge of glacial systems back to Scotland has allowed me to view our seas and summits in a new light. Gaining this appreciation of how a changing climate has shaped our landscape over time, I am interested in how further changes in climate alongside our land and coastal management systems can shape the future.
Scotland’s Pockmarks: understanding the link between gas-escape features and buried carbon in fjordic systems.
These crater like depressions in the seabed are usually found within fine grained glacial/ post-glacial sediments typical of the fjordic environments of Western Scotland. These locations are also known stores of organic carbon. Recent research by Smeaton et al., (2016) has shown these stores to be of orders of magnitude greater than once thought. It is generally agreed that the formation of pockmarks is caused by the movement of fluid/gas from these organic carbon stores.
With initial research showing us that there is a high abundance of pockmarks within Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). It is important to recognise and map these features as possible sources of gases such as methane and the effect that they may have on surrounding marine life.
This project has three primary aims:
To map and quantify the distribution and morphological variation of sea-bed pockmarks in waters around western Scotland (focusing on MPAs / SACs)
To quantify the degree of bathymetric and geological control on pockmark morphology and formation
To assess the relationship between pockmark distribution, shallow sub-sea-bed gas storage, and potential sedimentary carbon stocks in fjordic sediments.
This project has been made possible thanks to the funding and support of MASTS SNH and the University of Stirling