SUMMER-MEESO Symposium. Photo: Vaishav Soni

Mesopelagic Symposium held in Copenhagen 14-15 February 2024

Friday 23 Feb 24

Time & place


  • IDA Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark


  • 14-15 February 2024



  • Organized under the two EU Horizon 2020 Research Projects MEESO and SUMMER.

Symposium Committee

  • Webjørn Melle
  • Raùl Prellezo
  • Klara Jakobsdottir
  • Runar Gjerp Solstad
  • Mary Wisz
  • Naiara Rodriguez-Ezpeleta
  • Bruno Inarra
  • Ivo Grigorov
  • J. Rasmus Nielsen

At the symnposium, scientists presented results from the SUMMER and MEESO projects to increase our knowledge about the mesopelagic zone ecosystem.

Following the completion of the two EU-funded projects SUMMER and MEESO, a mesopelagic symposium was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, for two consecutive days where scientists presented their work in order to increase our collective knowledge about the mesopelagic zone ecosystem, and the role it plays in the ocean, and potential harvesting from it. 

The topics were the following:

  • Biomass estimation
  • Biodiversity
  • Distribution, vital rates, trophic and ecosystem interactions
  • Carbon cycle
  • Fisheries and processing
  • Nutrient content, contaminants
  • Economics, future prospects, governance.

A row of presentations were made under each topic and the titles and authors of presentations under each topic appears from the symposium program.


The background to the projects is the global human population growth causing increased demand for food, including marine proteins and lipids. Mesopelagic organisms represent the largest unexploited resource left in the world's oceans, with a recent biomass estimate of around 10 billion metric tons.

Our knowledge of the mesopelagic community in terms of biodiversity, the drivers of its biomass, its role in carbon sequestration, and its interactions with the epipelagic community, including commercial fish stocks, has major gaps. The main reason for these knowledge gaps is the lack of methods to observe and sample the relatively small organisms living at depths between 200 and 1000 m.

The projects aim to determine the potential of sustainably exploiting the mesopelagic biomass for products included in the human food chain. However, It is important to assess the long-term sustainability of potential extensive exploitation at an early stage to develop appropriate management measures.
23 JUNE 2024