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MAR-ECO: PATTERNS AND PROCESSES OF THE ECOSYSTEMS OF THE NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC Overriding aim: To describe and understand the patterns of distribution,

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Presentation on theme: "MAR-ECO: PATTERNS AND PROCESSES OF THE ECOSYSTEMS OF THE NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC Overriding aim: To describe and understand the patterns of distribution,"— Presentation transcript:

1 MAR-ECO: PATTERNS AND PROCESSES OF THE ECOSYSTEMS OF THE NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC Overriding aim: 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. Realm: ”Dark Zone”, restricted to pelagic and benthic habitats associated with mid-ocean ridges. after Garrison, 1993

2 The target area of MAR-ECO is the mid- ocean North Atlantic. A spin-off project is being developed in the South Atlantic based on experience in the North. This effort has currently no ship-time commitments! Global Scope of Project NOAA

3 2007 Scientific Results Southern area High diversity - low biomass Northern area Low diversity - high biomass Copepod diversity along a north-south transect along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland- Azores From Gaard et al.

4 2007 Scientific Results Abundance of pelagic fishes shows maxima in the upper bathypelagic zone (1000-2000m) and near the seabed. This concentration in deep layers contrasts with the normal exponential decline seen in oceanic areas and may be a special feature of ridge-associated communities From Sutton et al.

5 Diversity MAR-ECO focuses on macro- and megafauna in a limited geographical area, not the entire global ridge system. The targets are animal species and communities associated with photosynthetic food-webs. The total number of species in this category has not been determined or estimated. New species! Crosnier & Vereshchaka subm. Examples from MAR-ECO samples include: Fishes: ~ 300 species, 3-4 new Cephalopods: 53 species, 2 new Pelagic copepods: ~150 species Shrimps: ~ 30 species, 1 new Holothurians: at least 22 species, at least 3-4 new Lophodolos sp. Promachoteuthis sloani Byrkjedal and Orlov, 2007 Cottunculus tubulosus Photo: A. Orlov

6 Distribution The abundance, distribution and composition of macro- and megafauna is primarily related to depth of occurrence and the watermass pattern probably affecting production. Only the bathypelagic community appears unaffected by the latitudinal abiotic environmental pattern. 0-1500m acoustic area backscatter along latitudinal gradient From Opdal et al. From Søiland et al.

7 Abundance Abundance estimation is not trivial for any pelagic or demersal taxa inhabiting deep mid-ocean ridge waters. There is elevated abundance near the seabed, and in oceanographic frontal zones. Current efforts are short-term and limited in spatial scale and do not provide knowledge on seasonal variation except in few locations using long-term lander observatories. Diurnal vertical migration of deep scattering layers above an acoustic lander mounted on mid-Atlantic Ridge seamount

8 Steps Toward Project Synthesis A multitude of interesting patterns and observations emerge at population, species and community levels. The most striking is the latitudinal and watermass-related diversity and distribution patterns, and the changes with depth in species composition and abundance. MAR-ECO will construct conceptual models of value to future mid-ocean studies, but the results may not form a satisfactory basis for predictive or retrospective modeling efforts.

9 Steps Toward Realm Synthesis MAR-ECO provides samples to CMarZ and collaborates at sea, provides tissue to the Barcode of Life programme, and exchanges results with CenSeam. There is communication with other deepwater projects, CaML, TOPP and HMAP. Nancy Copley (CMarZ) visiting Tone Falkenhaug (MAR-ECO) to collect crustacean zooplankton specimens for barcoding BARCODE of LIFE: Done: fishes, cephalopods, copepods Coming: Shrimps, mysids, euphausids, amphipods, chaetognaths a.o.

10 Synthesis Outputs Science community: two special journal issues in early 2008, monograph on biogeography, papers in primary literature 2004-present, final synthetic review paper with conceptual model Public: By end 2007; two TV-docs, two DVDs, traveling exhibition By 2010: popular book Other user groups: Input to advisory organizations; proposals for open-ocean biodiversity reference sites (MARBEF), new knowledge continually provided to advisory processes in e.g. ICES

11 Visualization & Communication The mid- ocean North Atlantic surrounded by MAR-ECO images illustrating the diversity of organisms and technologies and methods required to gain new baseline knowledge Illustration compiled by T. Wenneck, photos by D. Shale and MAR-ECO partners.

12 Visualization & Communication After Priede et al. 2006 What is the significance of mid-ocean ridges for the ocean-wide patterns of species composition, abundance and production?

13 Achievements: Updated species inventories and range descriptions for mid- ocean North Atlantic macrofauna, spanning a wide range of pelagic, benthopelagic and benthic taxa. Conceptual models for the pattern of occurrence and abundance of e.g. zooplankton, nekton of all sizes, benthic macrofauna, whales, and seabirds in relation to their abiotic environment. New species of e.g. sponges, echinoderms, crustaceans, cephalopods, fishes, and redescription of species and revision of genera. Future impact: Concepts and methodology stimulating global efforts to determine significance of mid-ocean ridges for biogeography, oceanic system structure and processes Science Impact

14 The project has raised the public and managerial awareness of the value and significance of mid- ocean areas and their animal communities Results have contributed to defining high-seas habitats and communities in need of protection. Results were used in e.g. ICES WGs to evaluate closed areas implemented by the RFMO NEAFC. OSPAR has shown interest. WWF has based an MPA proposal on preliminary results from MAR-ECO. Societal Impact of Results to Date

15 Comprehensive approaches to monitoring high-seas pelagic reference sites and deepwater benthopelagic and epibenthic communities Impact of Approach & Methodology Many technologies on same ship combined with moored observatories. E.g. acoustic and optical landers and profilers, multisampler for midwater trawls, hull-mounted multifrequency echosounders, real time bathymetry mapping.

16 Project Data Available in OBIS All MAR-ECO fish records were included in OBIS. Other taxa will be provided as taxonomic quality- assurance is completed. Records are from North Atlantic only. Pictures by Porteiro and Piatkowski

17 Education & Outreach The traveling exhibition “Deeper than Light” visited Paris, Porto, and Essen in 2007. The associated book “Deeper than Light” written by MAR-ECO in cooperation with other deepwater projects and EuroCoML was published. Two educational DVDs and numerous website news, including ship-to-shore reports and media attention during 2007 cruise on the RRS James Cook Audiences: interested public of all ages, including students and schoolchildren. Impact: good attendance at all venues, high media attention during events. MAR-ECO Students Bachelor Students May-Siri Stene and Margrete Emblemsvåg,Aalesund University College, Norway.Completed June 2007. Kaia Damsgård Andersen and Ingrid Stadsnes Aalesund University College, NorwayCompleted June 2007. Susana de Villegas Quevedo, Aalesund University College, Norway Completed June 2007. Tom Letessier, University of Aberdeen, UK Completed Jan 2006 Master Students Megan Geidner, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, USA Christopher Sweetman, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, USA Inger Marie Tyssebotn University of Bergen and the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), Norway Fred Marius Svendsen, University of Bergen (UIB), Bergen Museum, Norway Markus Busch, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf,Germany Esra Kahn, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf,Germany Jan Yde Poulsen, Zoological Museum University of Copenhagen (ZMUC), Denmark Hanne Sannæs, University of Oslo, Institute of Marine ResearchCompleted Sept 2007 Lise Doksæter University of Bergen (UIB) and Institute of Marine Research (IMR), NorwayCompleted 2006 Helene Axelsen, University of Bergen (UIB), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), NorwayCompleted Nov 2006 Hildur Petursdottir Marine Research Institute,Iceland and University of Iceland). Completed Oct2006 Øyvind Karlbom,University of Bergen (UIB), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway Completed Oct 2006 Anders Frugård Opdal,, Institute of Marine Research (IMR) NorwayCompleted May 2006 Guro Gjelsvik, University of Bergen (UIB), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), NorwayCompleted Mar 2006 Pål Øyvind Aas University of Bergen (UIB), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), NorwayCompleted Febr 2006 Kristina Arianson, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and IMR, NorwayCompleted 2006 Anne Edvardsen, Notodden College, NorwayCompleted 2007 PhD Students Kyle Bartow, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, USA Jessica Craig, Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen UK Tom Letessier, University of St Andrews, UK Vanda Carmo, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores (DOP), Portugal. Amy Heger,OceanLab, University of Aberdeen, UK Birkir Bardarson, Marine Research Institute, Iceland & Univ. St Andrews, Scotland Nina Svane Mikkelsen, Dept. of information science and media studies, University of Bergen (UIB) Norway Inge Fossen, University of Bergen (UIB) and University College in Aalesund, Norway. Completed June 2007 Aino Hosia University of Bergen (UIB), NorwayCompleted May 2007. Nicola King, OceanLab, University of Aberdeen, UKCompleted Nov 2006 Tom Sørnes,University of Bergen (UIB) NorwayCompleted Nov 2005

18 Next Steps 1)Completion of analyses of data and samples from 2003-2005 field phase; publishing and provision of data to OBIS. Barcoding. 2)New field work in the North Atlantic, 3)Developing a South Atlantic activity 4) Syntheses in preparation for the 2010 CoML Getting prepared for the synthesis challenge!! MAR-ECO students exploring a mid-Atl Ridge rift valley during the Sept ’07 project meeting in Iceland (photo: T. Letessier)

19 Limits to Knowledge Unknown but knowable: 1.seasonal and interannual variation in species composition and ranges. 2.understanding of relative significance of different production processes. 3.scale and significance of human impacts. Optical and acoustical observatory technology and advanced long-term samplers may enhance understanding of production processes. Other items require repeated observation programmes with comprehensive sampling efforts.

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