Gulf of California 2015, Leg 6 – Vents and Seeps
The goal of this leg is to sample benthic animals from deep-sea hydrothermal vents and hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of California.
The sample benthic specimens will be used for taxonomic purposes to establish depth and geographical ranges of individual species, and for population genetic studies of connectivity along the western margin of North and Central America. These data will inform scientists and managers interested in maintaining preserves and creating new protected areas.
This leg’s researchers will focus primarily on the bivalve and gastropod mollusks, annelids, and crustaceans associated with chemosynthetic habitats. A main target will be the hydrothermal vents discovered during the 2012 expedition.
They also plan to explore and sample vents that are still to be discovered in the Pescadero Basin (east of La Paz).