Marine megafauna plays crucial ecosystem services in maintaining their structure and functioning. It comprises animals from several taxonomic groups (e.g., mammals, fishes, reptiles), in which most species are top predators. In addition, many of these species are threatened due to their exposure to varying levels of human-induced pressures that can include overfishing, pollution, marine traffic, marine litter, and climate change.
On the other hand, oceanic insular environments such as those surrounding Madeira and the Macaronesian archipelagos benefit from island mass effect processes, aggregating high diversity points for marine megafauna. However, studies in such remote habitats face numerous challenges and are unbalanced when compared to coastal habitats.
MARE-Madeira seeks to contribute to advances in the knowledge of factors and processes affecting marine megafauna, with a special focus on island ecosystems. Using the proximity of the open sea off the coast of the islands of Madeira as an in situ laboratory, and with the Macaronesia and the North Atlantic as a background integrative ‘scenario’, MARE-Madeira relies on a multi-disciplinary approach covering biotelemetry, biogeochemistry, acoustics, genomics, ecotoxicology, technology or ecological modeling to address forefront issues related with food-web, movement, functional ecology, sociality, environmental change, and anthropogenic pressures on marine megafauna.