The MoMAR “Monitoring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge” project was initiated in 1998 to study the environmental instability resulting from active mid-ocean-ridge processes at hydrothermal vent fields south of the Azores. It led to the deployment, in 2010, of the battery-powered cabled EMSO-Azores at 1700 m depth at the Lucky Strike vent field which is now a component of the EMSO European Research Infrastructure Consortium. This instrumental set-up aims at understanding the feedbacks between volcanism, deformation, seismicity, and hydrothermalism at a slow spreading mid-ocean ridge, and the coupling between the hydrothermal ecosystem and these sub-seabed processes. Through a combination of repeated observations and sampling, long-term time-series of pluridisciplinary data (e.g., geological, physical, chemical, ecological) are being produced over a wide range of temporal scales at resolution from seconds to decades. The first 10 years of data supported unprecedented integrated studies, highlighting the link between deep geological events, sub-surface hydrothermal circulation and their control on fluid chemistry as well as their influence on vent fauna communities. Long-term results informed on the relevant temporal scales of variability. While Lucky Strike appears to be a stable system in time, tidal modulation was identified as the main process driving effluent variability, species behaviour and physiology. This presentation will report on the inter- and pluri-disciplinary scientific advances enabled by the observatory this last decade, and demonstrate how EMSO-Azores generated both technological and scientific knowledge, enhanced ocean literacy through a high number of outreach & art and sciences projects, and can also inform environmental management and conservation strategies in a Marine Protected Area (Portugal).
Note: This recording was available for a limited time (through October 3, 2023).