The purpose of this project is to determine the role of the
coastal zone and the deep sea ecosystems in the productivity
and energy fluxes in the Southern Ocean. In the Antarctic, where
the availability of the food resources - produced as well in situ
as imported - strongly depends on the seasonal variations of the
environmental ... conditions, the space and temporal variations of the
various relations between the various communities have a fundamental
importance. The structure and the functioning of the antarctic biota
are also determined by typical phenomena resulting from the dynamics
of the sea ice. One thinks here of the capacity of recovery of the biota
subjected to disturbances due to the action of icebergs in the coastal
zone and at the edge of the ice cap.
Special attention will be paid to the association between meiofauna,
interstitial nutrients, organic matter (dissolved and particulate),
pigments, sediments texture and bacteria.
Central to this study on the meiobenthos are the following topics :
- seasonal, annual and long-term variations;
- biogeochemical interactions and carbon fluxes;
- feeding strategies; and
- life cycles.
These topics are dealt with in a general framework of coupling
benthos/pelagos, abiotic/biotic interactions and of biodiversity
within the Antarctic ecosystem.