Contribution to the ATLAS Project from IEO-Vigo: an update (2017-18)
Poster presentation at ATLAS 3rd General Assembly.
IEO-Vigo leads the Case Study No 11, which includes both the oceanic bank "Flemish Cap" and the adjacent area of the "Flemish Pass". The Case Study area is located on the high seas (areas beyond national jurisdictions), in deep waters of the Northwest Atlantic and hosts ecosystems of great ecological value. It is an important fishing ground for the European freezer fleet (managed by NAFO, a Regional Fisheries Management Organization), an important area for ecosystem and fisheries research and a key area for conservation of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), such as cold-water corals and sponges. In addition, it has potential for "blue economy" activities (e.g. oil and gas exploration and exploitation).The aim of the research carried out by IEO-Vigo is to improve the understanding of the ecosystems in the Case Study area, in order to advise on the sustainable use of marine resources, compatible with conservation and long-term sustainability, so that deep water ecosystems can continue to perform their functions and provide goods and services, such as fish and habitats. This research is related with several ATLAS work packages: (WP3) Model the distribution of sea pens (Anthoptilum grandiflorum) as VMEs indicator species, testing different algorithms, explore a trait-based approach suitable for cold-water corals and study the seabed litter as a descriptor to achieve a Good Environmental Status; (WP6) Address the challenges of marine spatial planning, mapping the main uses of the marine space in the high seas, identifying key information for the integrated spatial management and risk assessment; (WP7) Collaborate on science‐policy interface activities; (WP9) Develop ATLAS related outreach activities, carried out in the framework of the ”100 Year Jubilee” of IEO-Vigo.