“Healthy oceans and seas are key to the health, well-being, and economic security of the Azores and bordering areas of the Atlantic. As the foundation for understanding the distribution of species and marine resources, knowledge of biodiversity informs mapping, classification schemes, and other policy tools for spatial management to be applied at the correct scale, helping nations operationalise key agreements such as the European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MFSD) or the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The overall goal of this PhD is to bring together existing and new biodiversity data and results from recent analysis of the dynamics of the North Atlantic to deepen the understanding of the biodiversity and biogeographic patterns of deep sea Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) indicator taxa and key fish species in the Azores, and forecast changes under future scenarios of water mass structure and ocean currents. This new understanding will improve the application of indicators of Good Environmental Status (GES) relevant to the Azores ecosystems for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and its constituent descriptors and predict changes in biodiversity and species biogeography in the Azores under future scenarios of dynamics of the North Atlantic. The current project will be developed under the recently funded Horizon 2020 research project ATLAS A Trans-Atlantic Assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe.”