Research cruise RV METEOR/RV MARIA S. MERIAN Cruise application "MerMet 17-11 George"
Controls in benthic and pelagic BIODIversity of the Azores: BIODIAZ
Being an isolated archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic, the Azores may serve as a unique model system for biogeographic research of marine taxa. The archipelagowas formed by plate-tectonic interactions combined with complex coastal erosion processes. The surrounding seafloor is topographically rich and forms an impressive mosaic of shelf and deep-sea conditions featuring various soft and hard bottom habitats. The requested cruise shall provide material from sublittoral down to deep-sea stations to incorporate innovative aspects into the study of seamount and island productivity and their potential role for the establishment of benthic assemblages comprising all size classes. The aim is to get a baseline on the diversity, faunal composition and distribution of shelf and deep-sea taxa from three different Azorean islands and adjacent seamounts. Such baseline should serve to prove fundamental hypotheses regarding the role of seamounts/islands for marine organisms. The significance of potential endemism in zoobenthos will be studied in the context of the geologic age, topographic isolation, phytoplankton productivity and diversity of the systems.