Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE)

The continental margins are the ribbons of seafloor beginning at the edge of the continental slope and extending rapidly to abyssal plain depths. During the past few decades, our understanding of deep continental margin habitats has changed more than for any other large area of Earth. While it has been known for a long time that the ocean margins are a mixture of rugged mountainous scenery and sediment- covered slopes, it is only in recent times, with higher-resolution bathymetry and increased bottom sampling, that areas once envisioned as monotonous landscapes are now acknowledged to have a high degree of complexity and diversity. Continental margins furthermore support some of the ocean's strongest gradients (e.g. depth, pressure, organic matter flux, oxygen). Collectively, these processes create unique ecosystems, which some are only now being discovered and which we are just beginning to understand. As exploitation of living and mineral resources is advancing faster than ecological knowledge on continental slopes, a comprehensive analysis of species distribution, biodiversity patterns and processes on continental margins is needed.

Project Leaders
Myriam Sibuet, France
Robert Carney, United States

Project Manager
Lenaick Menot, France
COMARGE Project Website
Project Description