Christian Armstrong

        Picture of Christian Armstrong

PhD student

Understanding the biophysical dynamics of the shallow seabed is essential for our transmission of energy and communication, our transportation links, and our sea-derived economy. My interest is quantifying these relationships, and assessing the spatio-temporal evolution of the seabed.

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Assessing dynamic seabed change on the UK continental shelf

The seafloor of the UK continental shelf is a dynamic and responsive environment. Physically, the hydrodynamic pressure from tidally-generated bottom flows distributes the sediment, resulting in vast sand dune fields. These bathymetric features influence the turbulent hydrodynamic regime, resulting in a complex relationship between migratory malleable structure, and the oscillatory overlying flow.

Biologically, the seafloor is a highly productive environment. Benthic communities are of significant importance for water column health, thus it is paramount that these communities are monitored and preserved from both economical and environmental perspectives.

This research aims to document biophysical activity, and quantify the spatio-temporal evolution of such areas using high resolution bathymetric mapping. Understanding how these areas evolve is essential when considering offshore construction. Physical deformation of the bedform may reduce the engineered structures lifetime (e.g. creating freespans in pipelines), whilst benthic areas of elevated biological activity must be undisturbed for the sake of environmental prosperity. By adopting a case study approach, the project’s objective is to therefore identify key hazardous areas for the offshore construction industry, and produce a forecast map for prospective areas of development.


Dr. John Howe, SAMS

Dr. Christopher Allen, SAMS

Dr. Richard Bates , St Andrews University


The Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research, Doctoral Training Partnership (SUPER DTP)



University of the Highlands and Islands



Armstrong C, Howe JA, Dale A, Allen C (2021) Bathymetric observations of an extreme tidal flow: Approaches to the Gulf of Corryvreckan, western Scotland, UK. Continental Shelf Research 217: 1-13 

Armstrong C, Howe JA, Allen C, Watson P (2021) Mobile bedform dynamics approaching a bedload parting site: Pentland Firth, northeast UK. Marine Geology 443: 106686 

Higher Education

2018- BSc (Hons) Marine Science, University of the Highlands and Islands