Scope and Organization

The Northeast Atlantic, and in particular the Azores Region, is an area of international interest for oceanographic, fisheries and biodiversity studies. The team members at DOP/UAç have been involved with developing different activities within these fields, in a multidisciplinary effort to conjugate this knowledge into a better understanding of the dynamics of this region, and its biological, physical, chemical and geological relation with other oceanic regions of the world.

The DOP/UAç is composed by a young team. Most of the team members went abroad (Europe, USA) for their graduate studies, being exposed to different scientific and academic environments. There is a very high interest by all team members to make the University of the Azores an important national/international institution known for its ocean research studies. Therefore, team members feel the need to invest in multidisciplinary teamwork. Thus co-operative research agreements among team members and with other institutions are being established for that sense.

The DOP/UAç has an oceanographic R/V ARQUIPÉLAGO (and three other vessels/boats) at its service. This constitutes a good advantage for annual cruise and team work scheduling. The location of the Department by the Horta's harbour, and the easy access of the research vessels to the ocean constitute also an advantage for ocean studies.

Observing capabilities at the DOP/UAç are, in general, good. In fact, R/V, biological, chemical and oceanographic equipment, and local environmental data (hydrological, biological and fisheries data) can be easily obtained to validate and incorporate in models. These capabilities will be enhanced in the coming years, with the acquisition of new equipment including a HRPT satellite receiving station for ocean color and thermal imagery data.


The Department of Oceanography and Fisheries from the University of the Azores (DOP/UAç), is involved in research activities related to the marine sciences. Main research programs deal with the description, experiment and modeling of oceanic ecosystems, within the areas of Ecology, Marine Biology, Physical and Chemical Oceanography, and Fisheries.

The DOP/UAç supports and facilitates both pure and applied research within these areas. It also forms co-operative research activities with appropriate state, and private research organizations, including services for industry and public administration, and conducts outreach activities through the regional and national newspapers, radio stations, public television, museums and school systems.

Emphasis is given to the study of:
  • Pelagic halieutic resources (tuna and other nektonic fish species)
  • Trophic chains in the ocean
  • Biology and population dynamics of large pelagic species
  • Ichtyo-demersal resources (main fish species with commercial value in the Azores)
  • Biology and genetics of oceanic squids
  • Biology and population dynamics of species associated with seamounts
  • General ecology and behaviour of fishes and invertebrates from littoral communities
  • Ecology of seabird communities
  • Physical oceanography (oceanic circulation and frontal dynamics in the Region of the Azores)
  • Ecotoxicology of heavy metals in the ocean
  • Ecology of hydrothermal vents in the ocean
  • Ecology of cetaceans, essentially related with whale watching activities

    These activities are part of international (MAST III, LIFE, DG-XIV), national (PRAXIS, JNICT), and regional programs. Research is made in collaboration with several national and international institutions. The research vessels equipped with modern oceanographic equipment, together with the land based equipment and laboratories constitute important means for the research activities in course.

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