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OCEANOGRAPHY AND MARINE GEOLOGY

The main objective of this group is to conduct interdisciplinary research in Earth Sciences, in the fields of physical oceanography and coastal and deep sea marine geology and geophysics.

Research in Physical Oceanography concentrates on the ocean circulation along (but not limited to) the Portuguese coast and EEZ, at three main scales: large scale (NE Atlantic circulation), coastal circulation (Upwelling Iberian ecosystem), and estuaries. The approach used includes both numerical modelling and observations.

Research in Marine Geology and Geophysics concentrates on: i) coastal and estuarine sediment dynamics, their impact on populations and link with climate changes; ii) deep-sea research, in particular of mud volcanism, gas hydrates and associated ecosystems in areas of hydrocarbon-rich fluid expulsion; iii) application and development of geophysical methods for characterization and monitoring of harbour areas, identification of areas of sand and gravel and monitoring of shallow gas occurrences.

Key multidisciplinary research areas were identified that clearly require and take full advantage of the expertise of the OMG group and its close collaboration with other CESAM (and other national and international) research groups: i) larval populations connectivity and phytoplankton dynamics (OMG/MEE); water quality studies (OMG/EPP); ii) sediment dynamics, coastal erosion, and characterization of benthic ecossystems (OMG/MEE/CZPM); iii) characterization of gas composition in areas of hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage (OMG/EPP); iv) geosphere/biosphere coupling processes in the precipitation of minerals in areas of active gas seepage (OMG/MEE).

Future Objectives

The OMG Group future research will focus on the theme of ecosystem characterization and functioning, and global change. The main objectives for future research within the OMG group include:

- The establishment of an oceanic observatory for the Iberian Northern Margin, based on eulerian buoys and operational models;

- To better understand the dynamics of the Iberian Upwelling ecosystem, its changes through time, the phytoplankton dynamics, the larval connectivity patterns, and to use numerical modelling to understand and predict alterations of recruitment mechanisms in coastal species in response to global changes;

- To study estuarine and coastal processes, ocean estuary-exchanges, based on satellite data and on high resolution biophysical models (circulation and biogeochemistry) under climate change scenarios;

- To define the environmental conditions to proper aquaculture exploration, using biophysical models;

- To study estuarine dynamics at a finer scale in ports and harbours using high resolution circulation and transport models;

- To apply newly developed techniques of seismic imaging to better understand the thermohaline structure of the ocean;

- To create GIS-based Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Maps for the Aveiro Coastal zone;

- To characterize and map areas of natural gas seepage to the atmosphere both in estuarine systems and the deep sea, and to assess the potential impact of massive methane releases from the ocean on climate change;

- To investigate sand and gravel occurrences on the Portuguese continental shelf and to assess their economic potential and the environmental impacts of their exploitation;

- To develop new methods for underwater navigation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) using geophysical information (collaboration with ISR/IST);

- To study the geology and geophysics of mud volcanoes (collaboration with Morocco);

- To develop a land based remote sensing system, with high temporal resolution, based in artificial vision to survey nearshore wave parameters and beach morphological parameters. Also, implement real time processing tools, and integration this data with numerical models to forecast short and medium/long  term coastal morphodynamics;

- To conduct fundamental research on sediment transport and development of engineering models.

Research Labs

OMG group integrates two Laboratories: a) Physical Oceanography (LPO); and b) Marine Geology and Geophysics (LMGG).


LPO research concentrates on ocean circulation along the Portuguese coast and EEZ and combines numerical modelling and observations at three main scales: large scale (NE Atlantic circulation), coastal circulation (Iberian Upwelling Ecosystem - IUE), and estuaries. Key problems addressed comprise the understanding of the mechanisms of open ocean and coastal circulation with emphasis on the links between these two, through nesting techniques. Extensive studies of estuarine systems along the Iberian coast are being carried out, including the development of innovative monitoring and advanced modelling of systems and processes, for coastal environmental sustainability assessment. Coastal water research also includes observations and modelling of gravity waves in the near shore, sediment transport and bar system evolution. LPO is led by Jesus Dubert.


LMGG research focuses on coastal and deep sea geological processes, mineral and energy resources, hazards, and their impacts on ecosystems and populations. Research on geological hazards is focused on coastal erosion and shoreline retreat, and the characterisation of areas of high seismic risk. Research on marine mineral and energy resources includes sand and gravel in the continental shelf, Co-rich polymetallic crusts and nodules, hydrocarbons (oil gas and gas hydrates), and assessment of impacts of offshore exploitation/dredging activities. LMGG is led by Luis Pinheiro.

MARITIME EQUIPMENT

Financed under the National Program of Scientific Re-equipment, by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation and the Program POCI 2010 (FEDER)



Towed Combined Chirp/Sidescan Sonar Systems:
- Combined side-scan sonar (double frequency: 100/400 kHz) and sub-bottom chirp profiler (05-12 kHz).; Tow cable of 100 m.; J-Star and Sonarweb acquisition and processing software.


Terms and Conditions: the equipment is available for utilization in joint research projects and for services to the community. Running the equipment will require the presence of two technicians from the University of Aveiro


For information on technical description, terms and conditions available at the Euroceans database: Towed Side Scan Sonar - Edgetech 512i
Please contact the responsible researcher for further details: Professor Luís Menezes Pinheiro (lmp@ua.pt)



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