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Monitoring colonisation processes in chemosynthetic ecosystems

Acronym: CHEMECO
Period: 2007 till 2010
Status: Completed

Institutes (7)  Top 
  • KU Leuven (KULeuven), more
  • Pierre & Marie Curie University (UPMC), more, co-ordinator
  • University of Aveiro (UA), more, principal investigator
  • Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPIMM), more, partner
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), more, partner
  • European Commission; Eurocores, more
  • Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), more, principal investigator

The main objective of this Collaborative Research Project is to realise a multidisciplinary study of colonization processes at several sites distributed in the European waters, from the Mediterranean sea to the Atlantic ocean and Nordic sea. Our specific interest, first, relies on the establishment of pioneer microbial communities, the recruitment of metazoan larvae, the development of symbioses and their importance in the biodiversity and tropic structure of newly-established communities. A second aspect of this project is to assess the impact of metazoan colonisation on chemical exchanges and biogeochemical processes. We propose to address these aims through a unique combination of site surveys, replicate colonization experiments, comparison of natural and experimental organisms assemblages, in situ chemical monitoring with microsensors, and reactive transport modeling. Similar colonisation devices hosting the same type of mineral and organic substrates will be used in order to achieve replicate long-term experiments at different sites. In associated to these deployments, both the local geological settings and ecological, chemical and biogeochemical patterns will be characterized. Four countries are involved through IPs, France, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands. Germany is represented as AP. CHEMECO is focused on a series of deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems, for which the different PIs and AP of the CRP have acquired an expertise in the past years .The team has access to the facilities required for deep-sea research and an extended experience of these facilities.In addition, the facilities used in the CRP will help to reinforce a European community of deep-sea facilities users and will provide the opportunity of monitoring deep sea ecosystems. The proposed experiments can, additionally, be seen as a preliminary step toward the implementation of in situ experimentation platforms in the context of long-term deep-sea observatory sites (e.g.: MoMAR or other ESONET NoE sites).

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