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The pilot project "Patterns and processes of the ecosystems of the northern Mid-Atlantic": aims, strategy and status
Bergstad, O.A.; Godø, O.R. (2002). The pilot project "Patterns and processes of the ecosystems of the northern Mid-Atlantic": aims, strategy and status. Oceanol. Acta 25(5): 219-226.
In: Oceanologica Acta. Elsevier/Gauthier-Villars: Montreuil. ISSN 0399-1784, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    mid-atlantic; ridge; macrofauna; biodiversity

Authors  Top 
  • Bergstad, O.A.
  • Godø, O.R.

    The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the target of an emerging international ecosystem study under the Census of marine life programme. This pilot project shall gather new knowledge on biodiversity, distribution patterns, and ecological processes, and the overriding aim is "to describe and understand the patterns of distribution, abundance and trophic relationships of the organisms inhabiting the mid-oceanic North Atlantic, and identify and model ecological processes that cause variability in these patterns". The project will focus on pelagic, benthopelagic and epibenthic macrofauna, and analyse distribution and abundance patterns in relation to the abiotic and biotic environment, as well as trophic relationships and life history strategies. Fish, crustaceans, cephalopods and gelatinous plankton and nekton have the highest priority in the study. A major challenge of the project is to overcome observation difficulties at large depths and in rugged terrain. A central aim is thus to utilise modern remote sensing technology (acoustics, optics) using advanced instrument carriers (e.g. towed vehicles, ROVs, AUVs, etc.). The project will be carried out as a multi-ship operation in 2003-2005, and the ongoing planning is a collaborative effort involving many nations around the North Atlantic. The project will work on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and in adjacent waters from the Azores to Iceland, both by surveying large areas by acoustics and mid-water trawling, and by focusing on three selected sub-areas for intensive sampling and observation by traditional and novel methods and technology. Overlapping with the field seasons, the period 2004-2008 will be an analytical phase, also including submission of data to OBIS.

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