The early life of eel in the Sargasso Sea—Influence of oceanography and climate (SARGASSO-EEL) (39107)

Project Details


The recruitment of the European eel has been in dramatic decline during the last 30 years, and is at a severe low of only 3-5 % of earlier magnitude. This change and its influence on the eel fishery have led to an intensified research in the oceanic phase of the European eel.

In order to contribute to further understanding of the life cycle of eel the Danish eel expedition set out in 2014 for the eel spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Here a consortium of Danish scientists and international collaborators focused on the linkages between oceanography, biological production, eel spawning and the growth and drift of eel larvae.

During the expedition, a wide range of organisms was collected: From the smallest plankton of less than a millimeter to very large fish. A number of research groups are now working on samples and data from the expedition and assembling information on key processes in the early life of eels. Preliminary findings indicate that biological and physical changes have taken place in the spawning areas that may affect the eel larvae’s chances of survival and their journey to Europe.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua and funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and Danish Centre of Marine Research (cruise).

Research area: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics
Research area: Fish Biology
Research area: Oceanography
Effective start/end date01/08/201301/08/2016