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Published 03.01.2020

sponges_logo

SponGES

Deep-sea Sponge Grounds Ecosystems of the North Atlantic: an integrated approach towards their preservation and sustainable exploitation


Azores

 | Public Project

ConservationDeep-seaEcosystemsGovernancePreservationSponge ecosystemsSustainability

The objective of SponGES is to develop an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use vulnerable sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. The SponGES consortium, an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of research institutions, environmental non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, will focus on one of the most diverse, ecologically and biologically important and vulnerable marine ecosystems of the deep-sea – sponge grounds – that to date have received very little research and conservation attention. Our approach will address the scope and challenges of EC’s Blue Growth Call by strengthening the knowledge base, improving innovation, predicting changes, and providing decision support tools for management and sustainable use of marine resources. SponGES will fill knowledge gaps on vulnerable sponge ecosystems and provide guidelines for their preservation and sustainable exploitation. North Atlantic deep-sea sponge grounds will be mapped and characterized, and a geographical information system on sponge grounds will be developed to determine drivers of past and present distribution. Diversity, biogeographic and connectivity patterns will be investigated through a genomic approach. Function of sponge ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, e.g. in habitat provision, bentho-pelagic coupling and biogeochemical cycling will be identified and quantified. This project will further unlock the potential of sponge grounds for innovative blue biotechnology namely towards drug discovery and tissue engineering. It will improve predictive capacities by quantifying threats related to fishing, climate change, and local disturbances. SpongeGES outputs will form the basis for modeling and predicting future ecosystem dynamics under environmental changes. SponGES will develop an adaptive ecosystem-based management plan that enables conservation and good governance of these marine resources on regional and international levels.

Contact

IMAR - Instituto do Mar (Azores - Portugal)

Other european and international partners

  • IMAR – INSTITUTE OF MARINE RESEARCH (AZORES PORTUGAL)
  • UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN (NORWAY)
  • FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES (USA)
  • INSTITUTO ESPANOL DE OCEANOGRAFIA (SPAIN)
  • UPPSALA UNIVERSITET (SWEDEN)
  • NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS (SPAIN)
  • UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM (NETHERLANDS)
  • WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY (NETHERLANDS)
  • BANGOR UNIVERSITY (UNITED KIGDOM)
  • UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL (UNITED KINGDOM)
  • UNIVERSIDADE DO MINHO (PORTUGAL)
  • ECOLOGY ACTION CENTRE (CANADA)
  • STICHTING NIOZ, KONINKLIJK NEDERLANDS INSTITUUT VOOR ONDERZOEK DER ZEE (NETHERLANDS)
  • STICHTING NEDERLANDSE WETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK INSTITUTEN (NETHERLANDS)
  • HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM FUR OZEANFORSCHUNG KIEL (GERMANY)
  • UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT (NETHERLANDS)
  • STUDIO ASSOCIATO GAIA SNC DEI DOTTORI ANTONIO SARA E MARTINA MILANESE (ITALY)
  • FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS FAO (ITALY)
  • ALFRED-WEGENER-INSTITUT HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM FUR POLAR- UND MEERESFORSCHUNG (GERMANY)
  • DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY (CANADA)
  • HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM GEESTHACHT ZENTRUM FUR MATERIAL- UND KUSTENFORSCHUNG GMBH (GERMANY)
  • THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND (USA)
  • STIFTELSEN NANSEN SENTER FOR MILJOOG FJERNMALING (NORWAY)
  • CIIMAR – CENTRO INTERDISCIPLINAR DE INVESTIGAÇÃO MARINHA E AMBIENTAL (PORTUGAL)