Projects and participants


The researchers will search for the specific areas of eel spawning and investigate how the spawning could be affected by climate-dependent fronts and ocean currents. Further they will look into the questions: why the eel spawns in the Sargasso Sea, which route the eel larvae take back to Europe, and what they feed on during their long migration. The eel spawn in an area where warm subtropical and colder northern waters meet, and the researchers will examine whether climate change leading to higher temperatures of subtropical waters, could affect eel larvae survival and thus the numbers of larvae returning to Europe.

The expedition research project will examine:

  • The extent of the spawning area – do the spawning eel congregate in specific areas
  • How water masses and ocean currents affect eel egg and larval transport
  • Whether presence of eel can be determined on the basis of DNA remains present in the water
  • Whether larval transport is directed to areas of particularly good feeding conditions
  • What are the food items of eel during the early stages?
  • Larval swimming behaviour
  • Larval growth and the growth of their potential food source
  • The production of potential food sources – how many are consumed and how many sink to the bottom of the ocean?
  • The condition of the eels spawning in the Sargasso Sea (assuming it is possible to catch an adult eel) 
  • Whether larval survival is linked to climate change and whether there has been a climate change influencing the spawning area conditions during the past 20 years.

Learn more about the projects of the Danish Eel Expedition 2014 (PDF)


The expedition brings together almost 40 experts from a wide range of research areas from both Danish and international universities and institutions.

See list of participants (PDF)