Project Manager/Lead Scientist: Bruce Robison
This is a continuing project focused on the ecology of the animals that occupy the bathypelagic portion of the water column—roughly 1000 to 4000 meters deep. In 2004, we will continue conducting deep video transects to build up the data base. Fortunately, much of the information we collected from deep dives during the 2003 GOC (Gulf of California) expedition can also be applied to the principal study, based in Monterey Bay. The use of acoustic transmitters to track gelatinous animals has resulted in good progress in lab and field tests to date, and we will expand the scope of data collection by incorporating archival tags to record environmental data. Finding the means to attach the transmitters is a challenging research effort. We will also continue the mesopelagic time-series of quantitative video transects, which is a critical asset for several studies (including the following three examples).
Karen Osborn, Graduate Research Assistant, is focused on the ecology and molecular systematics of munnopsid isopods (known as "spiders"). Research done on the GOC expedition revealed significant details about inter- and intraspecific behavior, surprising new information about feeding, and comparative material for studies in Monterey Bay, which will continue in 2004.
The GOC Expedition provided access to rarely seen Scyphozoan specimens such as Stygiomedusa gigantea. Work on Scyphozoans planned for 2004 will be primarily in the laboratory to sequence, analyze, and publish this material.
Louis Zeidberg, MBARI Postdoctoral Fellow, will be using stable isotopes to trace the pathways of organic matter through the pelagic food web with a particular emphasis on the jellies, a group rarely studied in this manner.