Advances in ocean biological observations – sustained system for deep-ocean meroplanktonInternal

Activity Overview

Type: Foresight Workshop
Start Date: May 27, 2019
End Date: May 29, 2019
Venue: Aveiro, Portugal
Contact: Marina Cunha
E-mail: marina.cunha [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2018 call for FWS and WG proposals
Total Budget: €22,750
Funds Granted: €7,500

Increasing exploration and exploitation of marine resources, as well as climate change and pollution are affecting ocean’s health. Fundamental knowledge of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is therefore vital to understand the magnitude of natural and human-induced impacts in the marine environment. Advances in technology over the past four decades have enabled an unprecedent development of underwater research, extending from near shore to the deepest regions of the globe. However, biological observations in the deep ocean have been limited in space and time, with few exceptions at chemosynthetic habitats, and a relatively small number of timeseries stations reaching abyssal depths.

This workshop aims to review state-of-the-art instrumentation available for plankton observations in shallow and deep waters, and develop a strategy to implement technological innovations for in-situ observations that can be combined with biophysical oceanographic modelling, to provide accurate, reliable and cost-efficient data for deep-sea realms.


Ultimately, the goal for this workshop is to foster the advancement of knowledge on invertebrate larval distributions to improve model predictions of connectivity and resilience of benthic communities to natural and human impacts, that will provide essential data for the development of sound management measures. The workshop will be organized around three major themes:

  1. Knowledge advances in deep-sea larval diversity and distribution: key challenges and priorities
  2. Recent developments in plankton observation technology and approaches (e.g. autonomous systems, image analysis, and -omics)
  3. Data integration and oceanographic modelling


  1. A synthesis paper describing challenges of studying invertebrate larval diversity and distribution and needs for sustained meroplankton observations in the deep ocean
  2. The formation of a working group to work on a proposal for development of new collection systems


This workshop will contribute to the development of deep-ocean Biodiversity and Ecosystem Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs), currently under pilot (zooplanckton biomass and diversity) and emerging (benthic invertebrate abundance and distribution) levels of readiness, as well as under consideration (connectivity of species) for the Deep-Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS). The knowledge that grows from this workshop will be able to be exported to science, industry and policy.

*The final date for the workshop has not been confirmed. This page will update the date once it has been set.