Caring about the future

LO3CAted - Larval Occurrences in Open Ocean: Connectivity studies in the East Atlantic and West Mediterranean
CESAM Responsible researcher - Luciana Génio
Programme - Transnational Access (TNA) - Fixed Point Open Ocean Observatories (FixO3)
Execution dates - 2016-04-01 - 2017-08-31 (17 Months)
Funding for CESAM - 11591 €
Proponent Institution - Natural Environment Research Council – National Oceanography Centre – NERC-NOC
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
University of Bergen, Norway
Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer (CNRS-UPMC), France
Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN), Spain
Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento das Pescas, Cape Verde
National Oceanography Centre, United Kingdom

Project Description

From the changing perspective of the oceans as a vast and intrinsically continuous domain, mostly immune to human action, understanding connectivity has emerged as an imperative to comprehend the resilience of marine organisms and habitats to natural and anthropogenic impacts, and to inform stakeholders and decision-makers on science-based options for management and conservation.
In recent years, integrated multidisciplinary approaches, incorporating high-resolution biophysical modelling, genetic and geochemical markers have been increasingly applied to assess spatial scales of dispersal and connectivity. However, knowledge gaps in both the physical and biological processes regulating larval dispersal, settlement and recruitment are hindering the understanding of deep-sea connectivity. With the primary goal of advancing our general knowledge of connectivity in the deep sea, this proposal will focus on vertical distributions and settlement of deep-sea larvae along the continental margin of Europe and Northern Africa.
The specific objectives of this proposal are to investigate:
   1. Occurrence of deep-sea larvae at different depths across the water column and over geographical distance along the East Atlantic Ocean and West Mediterranean Sea.
   2. Settlement of deep-sea larvae, as well as biofilms on which the larvae settle, in organic and inorganic substrates at vertical and horizontal spatial scales along the European and northern African continental margins.
   3. Connectivity between East Atlantic and Mediterranean deep-sea populations, based on molecular and geochemical markers.

The proposed research objectives will be achieved by deploying larval traps and settlement platforms with natural and artificial substrates at various depths along mooring lines, over periods of 6 to 18 months coinciding with maintenance operations of selected Fixed Point Open Ocean Observatories (FixO3). The five selected infrastructures, Station M (Norway), PAP (UK), DYFAMED (France), ESTOC (Canary Islands) and CVOO (Cape Verde), cover the geographical and bathymetric ranges of known mollusc species inhabiting deep-sea habitats in the East Atlantic and West Mediterranean. LO3CAted will provide novel information on the distribution and availability of larval pools at different water masses, contributing with an unprecedented spatiotemporal scale to the understanding of connectivity between Atlantic and Mediterranean deep-sea populations. The project joins CESAM researchers and international scientists with a strong expertise in the study of deep-sea ecosystems, from taxonomy and anatomy of invertebrates, to trophic and reproductive ecology and biogeography.

Additional information about Fixed point Open Ocean Observatory network:

CESAM Funding: UIDP/50017/2020 + UIDB/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020


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