Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
  Avian & pandemic flu
  Cancer
  Earthquakes
  Floods
  HIV & AIDS
  Malaria
  Stem cells
  Volcanoes
  Water
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


This page was published on 27/11/2006
Published: 27/11/2006

   Special Collections

Last Update: 27-11-2006  
Related category(ies):
Agriculture & food  |  Special Collections  |  Environment  |  Pure sciences

 

Add to PDF "basket"

European network maps darkest corners of the planet

Cold seeps exist in some of the deepest, darkest, most hostile environments on the planet. They are vents located on the ocean floor and as part of underwater mud volcano systems. They give rise to some of the most unique organisms known to inhabit the earth, and can provide a wealth of information to scientists. Despite their potential, and because of their remote locations, they have been relatively understudied by researchers. To address the issue, the DG Research supported European Collaborative Research Scheme (EUROCORES), part of the European Science Foundation, developed the aptly named EUROMARGINS programme to study these fields of hydrocarbon-rich gas seepage, mud volcanoes and pockmarks. As EUROMARGINS is coming to a close, it ends in late 2007, EUROCORES organised an international conference to take stock of its achievements and discuss how to move on from here.

Cold seeps are home to some otherworldly characters. © Matt+
Cold seeps are home to some otherworldly characters.
EUROMARGINS' research agenda was to develop new technologies and conceptual models for these underwater environments, with the expressed aim of advancing integrated research into the mechanisms that are responsible for continental break-up and the formation of the world's ocean basins and their margins. Important ‘ingredients' of the programme were the pooling of human resources, the training of a new generation of geoscientists, and the optimal sharing of national observational platforms (e.g. ships), analytical and modelling facilities.

EUROMARGINS has lead to numerous discoveries associated with cold seeps. In the Mediterranean, Sébastien Duperron from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France has identified symbiotic relationships never known to have existed. He has recorded the symbiotic relationship between mussels and chemosynthetic bacteria, bacteria able to produce energy from chemical compounds, not light, in the water.

“In the bivalve species Idas sp., we have found an association with six different symbionts. This is the widest diversity of symbionts ever described in a bivalve species,” said Mr Duperron. In addition, Mr Duperron noticed three of the mussel symbionts belong to bacterial groups previously not thought to be symbiotic. They appear to provide their hosts with nutrients from an as yet unidentified source.

Luis Pinheiro, a member of the EUROMARGINS project from the University of Aveiro in Portugal, was part of an expedition that discovered mud volcanoes on the Nile deep-sea fan. He has since been investigating the volcanoes as part of team including members from Spain, France and Belgium. So far, they have identified characteristic ecosystems with particular faunal communities, living directly or indirectly on methane, some of which appear to represent completely new species.

All told, EUROMARGINS has supported over 70 research teams from 12 countries dedicated to imaging, monitoring, reconstruction and modelling of the physical and chemical processes that occur in cold seeps. Present at the recent conference in Italy were scientists from around 50 research groups from around the world.

Other EUROCORES programmes are expected to continue the work catalogued by EUROMARGINS and build upon the networks it created. Challenges of Marine Coring Research (EuroMARC) and Topo-Europe are two examples of EU-funded projects expected to pick up were EUROMARGINS left off.

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

EUROMARGINS
EUROCORES
EuroMARC
Topo-Europe





  Top   Research Information Center