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The ecosystem of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the sub-polar front and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone; ECO-MAR project strategy and description of the sampling programme 2007-2010

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Abstract

The ECOMAR project investigated photosynthetically-supported life on the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) between the Azores and Iceland focussing on the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone area in the vicinity of the sub-polar front where the North Atlantic Current crosses the MAR. Repeat visits were made to four stations at 2500. m depth on the flanks of the MAR in the years 2007-2010; a pair of northern stations at 54°N in cold water north of the sub-polar front and southern stations at 49°N in warmer water influenced by eddies from the North Atlantic Current. At each station an instrumented mooring was deployed with current meters and sediment traps (100 and 1000. m above the sea floor) to sample downward flux of particulate matter. The patterns of water flow, fronts, primary production and export flux in the region were studied by a combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements. Sonar, tow nets and profilers sampled pelagic fauna over the MAR. Swath bathymetry surveys across the ridge revealed sediment-covered flat terraces parallel to the axis of the MAR with intervening steep rocky slopes. Otter trawls, megacores, baited traps and a suite of tools carried by the R.O.V. Isis including push cores, grabs and a suction device collected benthic fauna. Video and photo surveys were also conducted using the SHRIMP towed vehicle and the R.O.V. Isis. Additional surveying and sampling by landers and R.O.V. focussed on the summit of a seamount (48°44'N, 28°10'W) on the western crest of the MAR between the two southern stations.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2013

    Research areas

  • Mid-ocean ridge, Marine protected area, North Atlantic, Benthic, Pelagic, Trawling, Bathymetry, Remotely operated vehicle, Charlie – Gibbs

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