Science on the Ridge

Little was known about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge ecosystems and even less about the area near the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone until the international Mar-Eco project, a project of the Census of Marine Life campaign, was launched in 2001. For ten years scientists from 16 countries equipped with submarines, remotely controlled vehicles (ROV), traditional and high tech nets and other technologies tried to find answers for the most burning questions: how do the ocean currents work along the ridge? How important are the areas north of the Azores and around the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone for the survival of certain species and the health of the ocean? The follow-up project ECOMAR particularly has been investigating the north-south and east-west differences in the ridge ecosystems around the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.

The groundbreaking results were crucial to propose the Charlie-Gibbs Marine Protected Area.