WP3 will evaluate the natural recovery and resilience of deep-sea communities from PMN fields and from active and inactive vent sites and their peripheries at the nMAR. It will identify indicators of change and calculate tipping points for communities exposed to different levels of disturbance.
The inherent novelty in WP3 is the integration of different types of data to identify key traits and tipping points, common and specific to each studied ecosystem. The trait-based approach on meio-, macro-, and megafauna, coupled with a taxonomic-based diversity evaluation, will reveal relationships between species and functional diversity during ecosystem recovery and along restoration trajectories (link with WP4). The effects of disturbance on community structure and functions will be evaluated by analyzing time-series datasets in areas impacted by natural and experimental disturbances. Changes in ecological responses (including ecotoxicological) across biological and environmental gradients will be assessed to establish tipping points for community recovery.