Leandro Nole Eduardo, a TAPIOCA member and postdoctoral student at the French Institute IRD, presented on March 09, 2023, at MARBEC, a lecture entitled “Illuminating the dark side of the ocean: biodiversity and ecology of mesopelagic ecosystems of the Southwest Tropical Atlantic”. In this presentation, Leandro highlighted the importance of mesopelagic organisms in marine ecosystems, emphasizing their role in carbon sequestration, nutrient recycling, and trophic linkage between oceanic layers.
Leandro explained that although these ecosystems are vital, they are still poorly studied and face increasing threats due to climate change, pollution, and exploitation of deep sea resources. Knowledge about these ecosystems is particularly scarce in developing countries, where deep-sea research is limited due to lack of funding and infrastructure.
As a result of the seven-year French-Brazilian partnership, significant progress has been made in understanding mesopelagic ecosystems. Through the ABRACOS 1 and 2 campaigns, Leandro participated in collecting and integrating data from the western tropical Atlantic to answer fundamental questions about mesopelagic fishes, such as identifying new and major species, studying daily patterns of vertical migration, investigating trophic relationships, assessing ecological functions, and identifying threats. The multidisciplinary approach taken by the team included several fields of knowledge, such as taxonomy, biodiversity, trophic ecology, genetics, contamination, physical-biological coupling, and acoustics. An important finding was the contribution to a new perspective on the ecology of mesopelagic organisms, challenging the conventional view of high ecological similarity among deep-sea fishes.