Staff Profile Russell Wynn Back to Staff Profiles

Russell Wynn - NOC

'Less than 40% of the UK offshore area has been mapped at sufficient resolution. MAREMAP will therefore bring together the expertise and resources of NERC and its partners, to deliver a co-ordinated national marine mapping programme.'
Dr Russell Wynn (NOC), Joint Co-ordinator of MAREMAP

Dr. Russell Wynn is Head of Marine Geoscience at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and is lead MAREMAP coordinator for the NOC. He has extensive experience in multi-disciplinary marine mapping and monitoring. This is exemplified by his current roles as Chief Scientist of the NERC Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) facility, Executive Committee Member of the UK Integrated Marine Observing Network (UK-IMON) and Chairman of the Seabird Group of UK and Ireland.

The breadth of his knowledge and expertise is extensive. His particular areas of interest include:

  • Submarine geohazards, including mapping and sampling of submarine landslides and sediment flows.
  • Exploration and mapping of the deep ocean, including submarine canyons/channels and sedimentary features.
  • Integration of seabed maps and water column data to determine controls on mobile species distributions.
  • Use of marine autonomous systems for marine mapping and observations.
  • Application of marine science and technology to UK policy development, especially relating to Marine Protected Areas.

He is currently leading a diverse range of projects that includes the mapping of giant submarine landslides off Morocco, deploying novel sensors on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for marine monitoring, and mapping distributions of endangered seabirds using miniature data loggers.

He recently returned from a five-week expedition aboard the German research vessel, Maria S Merian, to Agadir Canyon, off the coast of Morocco. As potentially the world's largest undersea canyon, seafloor images and sediment cores collected by the researchers led to profound new discoveries about its geology and sediment mobility.

As Dr. Wynn said: "We discovered that this huge valley is the source for the world's largest submarine sediment flow 60,000 years ago. Up to 160 km3 of sediment was transported to the deep ocean in a single catastrophic event."

Dr Wynn is also heavily involved in the development of autonomous platforms for marine mapping and monitoring. These include propeller-driven autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), buoyancy-driven submarine gliders, and unmanned surface vehicles that can harvest wave, wind and solar energy. They increasingly allow scientists to work in hostile environments such as under ice or around deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Dr. Russell Wynn's work through various NOC projects makes a valuable contribution to MAREMAP, and his future aim is to see the programme at the core of an integrated marine mapping and observing network in UK waters.

If you would like to know more about Dr. Russell Wynn's life and work, please contact the National Oceanography Centre.