video from recent diving missions

Giant sponge colony found off Faial island

Coral reef in 930 metres off Capelinhos/Faial

The Underwater Gardens of Capelinhos

Images taken during the MARE@Porto Santo 2020 expedition:

Seabed mapping project

Our principal activity consists in the systematic documentation and habitat characterization of the unknown depths of the Azores and Madeira Archipelagos, between 300 and 1000 metres of depth.

First, multibeam sonar surveys are carried out in pre-defined areas, to detect potentially interesting spots. Then, transects are defined to carry out georeferenced video surveys with the LULA1000 submersible, with the aim to systematically document habitats and fauna.

The results of those survey transects are used for scientific and educational purposes, as well as for nature documentaries.

Each dive brings new knowledge and images of species that have been rarely or never before documented in their habitat.

During the dives, additional oceanographic data are collected: CTD (conductivity, depth, temperature), pH, oxygen, turbidity, tracking data, samples of organisms.

Several sites of ecological relevance have been discovered by the LULA1000 team, such as an extensive and diverse coldwater coral reef in 930 meters of depth west of the Capelinhos volcano (Faial/Azores).

Vários sítios de relevância ecológica têm sido descobertos pela equipa do LULA1000, entre outros um extenso e diversificado recife de corais de águas frias a 930 metros de profundidade a oeste do Faial-Açores. Another coral reef has been discovered on Mont’Ana*, as well as several sites considered vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), such as coral gardens and sponge fields. A soft coral garden was also discovered to the west of the Capelinhos Volcano, the first recorded in the Azores.

In October 2020, during the first habitat characterization dives carried out in deep waters near Porto Santo, as part of the MARE@ Porto Santo 2020 project, the LULA1000 team managed to document several ecosystems of ecological and conservation value.


*Tempera et al. An Eguchipsammia (Dendrophylliidae) topping on the cone. Mar Biodiv 45, 3–4 (2015).