Caring about the future

HACON - Hot vents in an ice-covered ocean: the role of the Arctic as a connectivity pathway between ocean basins
Coordinator - Eva Ramirez-Llodra
CESAM Responsible researcher - Ana Hilário
Programme - FRINATEK call in the FRIPRO programme of the Research Council of Norway
Execution dates - 2018-11-01 - 2021-10-31 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - Norwegian Research Council (NFR)
Funding for CESAM - 230000 €
Total Funding - 273780 €
Proponent Institution - Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro

Project Description

Forty years after the discovery of hydrothermal vents, research of these unique ecosystems is still in a discovery phase. The findings have changed the way we understand life on Earth and are fuelling exploration for life in our solar system. The remote Arctic Gakkel Ridge remains largely unexplored and ecosystems in this under-ice region are largely unknown. First evidence of active venting in the Gakkel Ridge has been available since 2001, but visual confirmation was not obtained until 2014 on the Aurora seamount. HACON proposes to return to the Aurora seamount in 2019, using the most modern infrastructure for oceanographic and Arctic research, including the new Norwegian icebreaker Kronprins Haakon, ROV Ægir and hybrid AUV Nereus Under Ice (WHOI, USA). HACON will conduct the first full-scale multidisciplinary study of deep (4000 m) hydrothermal vents under permanent ice cover in the Arctic (82°N). HACON will unravel the processes that shape the Aurora communities and test the hypothesis that the Gakkel Ridge provides a connecting pathway for gene flow between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The project will provide empirical robust data of a pristine system prior to expected climate-change variations and increased human activities in the Arctic region. HACON integrates research in geology, geochemistry, physical oceanography, microbiology, micropaleontology, ecology, molecular biology and modelling to answer 3 questions addressed in 4 integrated work packages: 1) What are the geologic controls on the vent-site?s setting and how do chemical signatures evolve in the water column (WP1)? 2) What microbial and faunal communities are supported by such geochemical settings (WP2) and how do they function (WP3)? 3) What are the pathways and barriers to population connectivity between the deep Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans (WP4)? The scientific excellence in HACON is ensured through the participation of first-class national and international partners.

Project webpage

CESAM members on this project
Ana Hilário

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


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