HEBBLE's precise aim is to develop and to test explicit predictions about the response of adhesive/cohesive marine sediments to imposed and controlled stresses [Hollister et al., 1980; Kerr, 1980]. Pursuit of this goal has necessitated a co-ordinated, interdisciplinary effort, to date including physical oceanographers, sedimentologists, radiochemists and biochemists, and biological oceanographers.

Current produced bed features reflect significant momentum exchange between the fluid boundary layer and the sediment surface. From photographs, and the few current meter records available, it appears that vast areas of the deep sea are presently being modified by energetic flows. The bed forms range in scale from kilometers to millimeters and are found where near bottom currents have been delineated by maxima in near bottom potential temperature. Moreover, on the Scotian Rise for example, many of these bedforms are being produced by present day currents because rapid destruction of the features by benthic organisms is evidenced in stereo-photographs.