CORDIS - EU research results

Demography, Ecology, Evolution and Management in the Deep

Final Report Summary - DEEMDEEP (Demography, Ecology, Evolution and Management in the Deep)

DEEMdeep: Demography, Ecology, Evolution and Management in the Deep
The oceans, upon which humanity relies for its survival, it is largely unexplored. Recent estimates establish that only 5% of the bottom of the sea has been explored. Of this small area, only one millionth is constituted by deep sea floor. Despite being largely unknown, the deep sea is becoming exceedingly exploited, especially by fisheries searching for new stocks. For all these reasons, understanding the functioning of the deep-sea environment is deemed crucial. This habitat has a pivotal role in the global conveyer belt, through regeneration of nutrients. DEEMdeep aims at expanding our understanding of the deep sea.
The chosen taxon is the genus Molva, represented in the North Atlantic by two species, the common ling M. molva and the blue ling M. dypterygia. State-of-the-art next-generation sequencing techniques are used with life-history traits and parasitology in order to establish patterns of population connectivity and habitat interactions at the ecological level.
Samples of common and blue ling have been collected throughout the North Atlantic in five sites through scientific surveys and commercial trawling. Basic traits have been recorded (sex, length, weight and maturity), gills removed for subsequent identification of the parasites. Through enhancing our knowledge of the deep sea, this project will pave the way towards sound conservation (and management) of this resource.
Genomics protocols have been optimised in order to screen the genome of these animals. This step took a long time and that the best possible approach would be selected. This was necessary as the samples are so rare and difficult to obtain that nothing can be left to chance.
All the samples have been screened and data is being generated at the Genomics Core facility in Leuven (Belgium).
Overall, we should able to produce an extensive set of molecular markers that will help answer many ecological questions, like finding out if fish caught in a certain areas are adapted to the local conditions or if they come from another geographical area.

As the project was terminated earlier due to the beneficiary's personal circumstances, the publishable summary and objectives of the final report are the same as the ones reported in the periodic report (12 months). Both reports cover the same reporting periods.