Gulf of California 2015, Leg 4 – Seafloor Biology
The oxygen minimum zone is very well-developed in the Gulf of California, particularly in the southern region. Changes in oxygen are correlated with patterns of carbonate chemistry due to the coupling of metabolic oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide release. The accumulation of respiratory carbon dioxide reduces pH levels of seawater and carbon saturation in areas where oxygen is low (e.g., oxygen minimum zones). Benthic animals vary in composition in relation to the tolerances of individual species to hypoxia, but may not also be affected by carbonate chemistry.
The benthic biology group will sample seafloor communities throughout the Gulf of California to:
- quantify the distribution of benthic fauna
- determine the condition of individuals (e.g., tissue and skeletal composition)
- measure metabolic rates of key benthic megafauna, in relation to variation in oxygen and carbonate chemistry