General research goals and proposed activities

The Department intends to improve currently implemented areas and studies and also facilitates innovative research on new areas. In particular, all multidisciplinary studies of the marine system will be strongly emphasized. This will be achieved through the establishment and reinforcement of existing international and national research programs.

Major attention is being given on fisheries research, namely on the assessment and management of fish stocks, including trophic relationships, ecological interactions and general biology and genetics. A growing interest is being given on multidisciplinary studies of hydrothermal vents, large scale and mesoscale ocean current systems and oceanic seamounts. Research on deep ocean and hydrothermal vent communities will be initiated through international co-operation.

Genetics, population dynamics and marine circulation will be used as major tools for ocean community distribution studies. The unifying element will be the biodiversity research through multidisciplinary ecosystem assessment.

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Azores is an oceanic Archipelago (with the greatest EEZ in Europe, of about 1,000.000 km²) whose islands are the highest peaks of a complex seamount chain situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Well inside the North Atlantic, the Azores offer unique natural conditions for marine sciences studies in Europe in all currently implemented or new envisaged fields. The existence of this Department in the Azores is a major step towards the real possibility to explore such natural conditions. The growing interest of the scientific international community in these areas further reinforces such a location and choice.

Marine research in these areas has brought at the end of the XXth century and will certainly bring during the XXIth one, new findings that will mark future generations in ocean sciences. The Azores is naturally in the course of such findings. The best proof of it is the recent growing demand for the collaboration with international research teams.

In accordance with such demands, the Department pretends to develop and strength such links, through a direct involvement on international science networks and Ph.D. and post-doc programs.

It is a major goal of this Department to become, in short time, a marine research reference center at a national level and in the near future, a center with European relevance.

Img: 25KbSuch goals require some re-orientation of previously developed research. Multidisciplinary will be our major objective and to achieve this several contacts were already incremented at either national and international levels, in order to improve the marine ecology laboratory, the oceanographic instrumentation and calibration laboratory, the fisheries biology laboratory, the chemistry laboratory and to implement new facilities such as a marine genetics laboratory, an hydrothermal vent laboratory and a marine multidisciplinary numerical forecast laboratory.

The organization that follows does not mean that the groups (or sections) work separately. On the contrary most of the projects which appear under the co-ordination of each of the groups are in fact multidisciplinary projects that benefit from effective collaboration and participation of the researchers formally integrated in other group(s).

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