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Title

Integrated study of Mediterranean deep canyons: Novel results and future challenges

AuthorsCanals, Miquel; Company, Joan B. ; Martin, Daniel ; Sánchez-Vidal, Anna; Ramírez-Llodra, Eva
Issue DateSep-2013
PublisherElsevier
CitationProgress in Oceanography 118 : 1-27 (2013)
AbstractThis volume compiles a number of scientific papers resulting from a sustained multidisciplinary research effort of the deep-sea ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea. This started 20 years ago and peaked over the last few years thanks to a number of Spanish and European projects such as PROMETEO, DOS MARES, REDECO, GRACCIE, HERMES, HERMIONE and PERSEUS, amongst others. The geographic focus of most papers is on the NW Mediterranean Sea including the Western Gulf of Lion and the North Catalan margin, with a special attention to submarine canyons, in particular the Blanes and Cap de Creus canyons. This introductory article to the Progress in Oceanography special issue on ‘‘Mediterranean deep canyons’’ provides background information needed to better understand the individual papers forming the volume, comments previous reference papers related to the main topics here addressed, and finally highlights the existing relationships between atmospheric forcing, oceanographic processes, seafloor physiography, ecosystem response, and litter and chemical pollution. This article also aims at constituting a sort of glue, in terms of existing knowledge and concepts and novel findings, linking together the other twenty papers in the volume, also including some illustrative figures. The main driving ideas behind this special issue, particularly fitting to the study area of the NW Mediterranean Sea, could be summarized as follows: (i) the atmosphere and the deep-sea ecosystem are connected through oceanographic processes originating in the coastal area and the ocean surface, which get activated at the occasion of high-energy events leading to fast transfers of matter and energy to the deep; (ii) shelf indented submarine canyons play a pivotal role in such transfers, which involve dense water, sedimentary particles, organic matter, litter and chemical pollutants; (iii) lateral inputs (advection) from the upper continental margin contributes significantly to the formation of intermediate and deep-water masses, and the associated fluxes of matter and energy are a main driver of deep-sea ecosystems; (iv) deep-sea organisms are highly sensitive to the arrival of external inputs, starting from the lowest food web levels and propagating upwards as time passes, which also relies upon the biology, nutritional needs and life expectancy of each individual species; and (v) innovative knowledge gained through such multidisciplinary research is of the utmost significance for an improved management of deep-sea living resources, such as the highly priced red shrimp Aristeus antennatus, for which a pilot management plan largely based in the findings described here and in related articles has been recently published (BOE, 2013). The researchers involved in such challenging endeavour have learnt tremendously from the results obtained so far and from each other, but are fully aware that there are still many unsolved questions. That is why this introductory article also includes ‘‘Future challenges’’ both in the title and as an individual section at the end, to express that there is still a long way to go.
Description27 páginas, 12 figuras, 1 tabla.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2013.09.004
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/87790
DOI10.1016/j.pocean.2013.09.004
ISSN0079-6611
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(CEAB) Artículos
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