Project title and acronym    

Larval Occurrences in Open Ocean: Connectivity studies in the East Atlantic and West Mediterranean (LO3CAted)

Host facilities    


Modality of Access    

MoA2 – Partially remote (the presence of the user is required at some stage, e.g. for installing and uninstalling an instrument)

Except Cape Verde which is:

MoA1 – Remote (the presence of the user is not required at any time during the access period)


Despite the increasing effort over the past decades to improve our knowledge on marine ecosystems, their immense diversity of organisms and processes, particularly in the deep sea, remains largely undisclosed. 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 [Mengerink et al. 2014]. In recent years, integrated multidisciplinary approaches, incorporating high‐resolution biophysical modeling, genetic and geochemical markers have been increasingly applied to assess spatial scales of dispersal and connectivity [Hilario et al. 2015]. However, knowledge gaps in both the physical and biological processes regulating larval dispersal, settlement and recruitment are hindering the understanding of deep-sea connectivity. Biological controls of larval dispersal include the reproductive effort of adults, which determines the timing and number of larvae in the water column, and also larval development and behavior. All these components define how larvae interact with the oceanic circulation and influence the timing, distance and trajectory of larvae among habitats. Moreover, the processes involved in finding suitable habitats and settlement cues are largely unknown for deep-sea benthic organisms. 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.