Bangor University

Research by Bangor University is to feature in the Drain the Oceans series on National Geographic Channel on Monday 7 October 8-9.00pm. Monday’s programme outlines the development of U-Boats, and how they changed the shape of naval warfare. The introduction of the world’s first stealth weapon forced Allied forces to adopt new tactics to fight back. Highlighted in the programme is work carried out by Bangor University’s School of Ocean Science’s research vessel the Prince Madog, which has surveyed numerous shipwreck sites in the Irish Sea as part of a joint research project with the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historic Monuments in Wales‘s Heritage Lottery funded project: Commemorating the Forgotten U-boat War around the Welsh Coast, 1914-18. A team of staff from the School of Ocean Sciences led by Dr Mike Roberts have been using a multibeam sonar system and the latest imaging techniques to reveal underwater wrecks from the Great War.

The sonar system on the Prince Madog generates very high resolution, three-dimensional models of the seafloor as the research vessel moves through the water over it and these models can allow researchers to identify objects at near centimetre scale. In water depths of 100 metres, typically found in the Irish Sea, the team are generating models and images of wrecks that can help marine archaeologists confirm their identity and even provide evidence of their demise. Dr Mike Roberts explains why the information is so valuable: “While these wartime relics can provide valuable information to historians and archaeologists, they may also help lead to the birth of a new industry. The data we’re collecting is providing unique insights into how these wrecks influence physical and biological processes in the marine environment. This information is being used to support the ambitions of the marine renewable energy sector.