Deep-water salps in Monterey Bay
Project Manager/Lead Scientist: Larry Madin
Several specimens of a salp that appeared to
be limited to midwater depths were collected during ROV Ventana dives in
2001 and 2002. These salps are an undescribed species. They are
exceptionally delicate and transparent and have morphological
characteristics that distinguish them from any described genus.
The collected specimens have been used to examine and describe the morphology, biometrics, gut
contents and behavior. The current project will concentrate on
measurements of respiration, excretion, feeding rate, swimming speed and
temperature tolerance in order to gain a full picture of the adaptation
and ecology of this species. Depending on success in keeping these salps
alive, it may also be possible to measure growth and reproductive rates.
The discovery and characterization of the first mesopelagic salp expands
knowledge of the ecology and evolution of pelagic tunicates and their
adaptation to varied niches in the water column.