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Azores 2023

The Azores is a remote archipelago in the North Atlantic located between Europe and North America. The Azores Azores is ecologically rich and hosts a variety of unique features such as seamounts. Seamounts create an upwelling effect which distributes nutrients from the deep-water region up to the surface. This phenomenon attracts marine megafauna and diverse fish aggregations while the structural complexity of the seamounts supports a wide range of unique deep-sea coral and sponge communities.

 A whale shark with a tag on its fin

Science Objective

OceanX and researchers from the Deep-Sea Research Group at Okeanos will focus on mapping the Princesa Alice, Joao de Castro, and Albatroz/SE Pico seamounts to identify new benthic communities, monitor the movements of marine megafauna and collect data on the oceanographic parameters that support the diverse ecosystems in this region.

Science Accomplishments

  • First to send submersibles on Princess Alice and Dom Joao seamounts
  • Documented never-before-seen sponge beds and mesophotic reefs on video
  • Successfully tagged a mobula ray and a whale shark


Polinski, J.M., Rodrigue, M., Meyer, J.D., & Harke, M.J. (2023). Drifting in the deep: Metatranscriptomics and metabarcoding reveal sustained metabolic activity and community composition in hydrothermal vent plume microbial communities. Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1219784. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1219784

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