Atlantic coral ecosystem study

ACES

Completed: March 2000 - February 2003

Objectives and approach:

To cover the variation in environmental factors and interactions at ocean boundaries which enable the development of DWC ecosystems in the Northeast Atlantic, the ACES community will focus on five selected key flagship areas along this latitudinal gradient - Galicia Bank, Porcupine Slope, Rockall Trough, Skagerrak, Norwegian Shelf. Our aim is a margin-wide environmental baseline assessment of the status of Europe's deep-water coral margin to provide recommendations for essential monitoring and methodology requirements for future sustainable development. To meet that challenge, ACES will focus on three main scientific objectives which will provide the scientific data necessary to carry out our final objective which is to provide impartial practical recommendations for enlightened management of this spectacular deep-water ecosystem:
1. To map the structural and genetic variability, the framework-constructing potential, and the longevity of DWC ecosystems
2: To assess hydrographic and other local physical forcing factors affecting BBL sediment particle dynamics and POC supply in the vicinity of DWC ecosystems
3: To describe the DWC ecosystem, its dynamics and functioning; investigate coral biology and behaviour and assess coral sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic stressors
4: To assign a sensitivity code, identify the major conservation issues (and increase public awareness), and make recommendations for the sustainable use of the DWC ecosystem