PAP Service Activities


SA Number: 5.2

Name of the SA: PAP – North Atlantic Benthic Biodiversity

Institute: National Oceanography Center, UK


This activity is focused on observing biodiversity change at one of the longest-term deep-sea ecology research stations globally.

Sediment cores and trawling sampling campaigns are conducted once per year at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain – Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO) to provide crucial datasets to continue to time-series of benthic fauna started in 1989. These datasets are used to assess long-term trends in the abyssal plain benthic community and to assess the impact of climate variations on deep-sea ecology. By collecting this data in the PAP-SO framework, the data forms a decadal scale study of how factors such as year to year climate and sinking particulate organic carbon food supply variations, as well as anthropogenic change can influence deep-sea ecology and its function.


Bathysnap time-lapse camera photography shown as a movie clip where the period between frames is 8 hrs. The clip features several echinoderm fauna including brittle stars and sea cucumbers. Also seen is the arrival of marine snow in the form of olive green coloured phytodetrital aggregates landing on the seafloor. This marine snow is a key deep-sea food resource and is produced at the ocean’s surface and sinks ~4800 m down where much of it is consumed along the way. The area clearly viewed in the foreground is ~1 m2.


TBC by 31 March