The impact of fisheries on deep sea benthic ecosystems

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Nowadays, fisheries are considered the activity in the marine environment which account the most for damage on the marine fauna. The impact of bottom trawling on the benthos biodiversity-functioning is still not calculated but recent studies suggest that, in contrast to shallow water and terrestrial ecosystems, small losses in the deep-sea biodiversity can have great impacts on biomass and productivity functions. This study aims to investigate, by comparing reference and disturbed areas, the effect of trawling on biomass, taxonomical and functional (trophic) composition of meiofauna (nematodes). The study will be conducted in the European Margin, where trawling has occurred on a continuously base. It consists of sampling analyses and processing, with the identification of organisms in order to unravel food web components. Environmental variables will be used to characterize the community ecology.
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Lidia Lins
Reference Number: RP-35312