RV Falkor explores the Ribbon Reefs!

Right now the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s RV Falkor is in the northern Great Barrier Reef exploring for the first time the Ribbon Reef #5 canyon systems. This leg is part of the Seamounts, Canyons & Reefs of the Coral Sea Expedition (July-Aug, 2020).

The Falkor is visiting Ribbon Reef #5 because this site has been a major focus of geologic research over the last several decades. In fact the GRG and collaborators across Australia and around the world have been leading a program called “From Corals to Canyons” that seeks to understand the evolution and connections between all elements of this system in time and space.  For a bit of a “primer” see below some the GRG’s relevant work in the area.

The next week or so should be fascinating as we use the ROV (SuBastian) to survey and sample the geology and biology of the sea floor in and around the canyons and also the deep forereef slope of Ribbon Reef #5.

The shelf and Halimeda bioherms

McNeil, M., Nothdurft, L., Dyriw, N. J., Webster, J. M., and Beaman, R. J., Morphotype differentiation in the Great Barrier Reef Halimeda bioherm carbonate factory: Internal architecture and surface geomorphometrics: The Depositional Record, https://doi.org/10.1002/dep2.122

Hinestrosa, G., Webster, J.M. and Beaman, R.J., 2019. Spatio-temporal patterns in the postglacial flooding of the Great Barrier Reef shelf, Australia. Continental Shelf Research, 173: 13-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2018.12.001

McNeil, M.A., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R.J., Graham, T.L., 2016. New constraints on the spatial distribution and morphology of the Halimeda bioherms of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs. 10.1007/s00338-016-1492-2. pdf

Ribbon Reef #5 Pleistocene reef evolution

Humblet, M and Webster J. M., 2017. Coral community changes in the Great Barrier Reef in response to major environmental changes over glacial-interglacial timescales. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 472, 216-235. pdf

Ribbon Reef fossil shelf edge reef system

Abbey, E. A., Webster J. M., Braga, J. C., Jacobsen, G., Thorogood, G., Thomas, A., Camoin, G., Reimer, P., Potts, D. C., Deglacial mesophotic reef demise on the Great Barrier Reef. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 392, p. 473-494. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.09.032. pdf

Abbey, E. A., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R., 2011. Geomorphology of submerged reefs on the shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef: the influence of oscillating Pleistocene sea-levels. Marine Geology, 288, 1-4, 61-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.08.006. pdf

Humblet, M., Potts, D. C., Webster, J. M., Braga, J. C., Iryu, Y., Yokoyama, Y., Bourillot, R., Séard, C., Droxler, A., Fujita, K., Gischler, E., and Kan, H., 2018, Late glacial to deglacial variation of coralgal assemblages in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Global and Planetary Change, 174, 70-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.12.014

Ribbon Reef modern mesophotic reef system

Bridge, T.C.L., Fabricius, K.E., Bongaerts, P., Wallace, C.C., Muir, P.R., Done, T.J., Webster, J.M., (2012). Diversity of Scleractinia and Octocorallia in the mesophotic zone of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs. DOI: 10.1007/s00338-011-0828-1. pdf

Ribbon Reef canyon and slope system

Puga-Bernabéu, Á., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R.J., Guilbaud, V., 2011. Morphology and controls on the evolution of a mixed carbonate–siliciclastic submarine canyon system, Great Barrier Reef margin, north-eastern Australia. Marine Geology 289, 100-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.09.013. pdf

Webster, J.M., Beaman, R.J., Puga-Bernabéu, Á., Ludman, D., Renema, W., Wust, R.A.J., George, N.P.J., Reimer, P.J., Jacobsen, G.E., Moss, P., 2012. Late Pleistocene history of turbidite sedimentation in a submarine canyon off the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 331-332, 75-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.02.034. pdf

Puga-Bernabéu, Á., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R.J., Reimer, P.J., and Renema, W., 2014, Filling the gap: A 60 ky record of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic turbidite deposition from the Great Barrier Reef: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 50, p. 40-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2013.11.009. pdf

Puga-Bernabeu, A., Webster, J.M., Beaman, R.J., Thran, A., Lopez-Cabrera, J., Hinestrosa, G. and Daniell, J.J., 2020. Submarine Landslides Along the Mixed Siliciclastic-Carbonate Margin of the Great Barrier Reef (Offshore Australia). In: K. Ogata, A. Festa and G. Pini (Editors), Submarine Landslides Subaqueous Mass Transport Deposits from Outcrops to Seismic Profiles. AGU, pp. 313-336.


Jody Webster (GRG)


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