Between 2009 and 2016, interdisciplinary mound research has been centralized under the umbrella of COCARDE, an international research network focusing on carbonate mound research through space and time. The network was co-funded by the European Science Foundation and the Research Foundation Flanders and aimed to bring together Earth scientists studying modern and ancient carbonate mound systems from different perspectives crossing intersectoral boundaries within the academic community and building bridges with industrial research.
Carbonate mounds and build-ups play a crucial role in the bio-geosphere and form an important piece of the puzzle when studying the global carbonate factory and the global carbon cycle. They are important archives of past and present life in different environmental settings, from cool-temperate and cold-polar regions to warm-water environments. Moreover, under extreme environmental conditions they are true hotspots of microbial life, from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps in marine environments towards hot spring deposits in continental and lacustrine environments.
COCARDE fostered the nucleation of new research projects, new views and strategies in the study of modern and ancient carbonate mounds. Several workshops and field seminars, focusing on different aspects of carbonate mound research, had been organized in order to scrutinize parallelisms and contrasts between modern and ancient mound systems and to deepen our insights in the basic drivers of mound formation.