Deepwater Salps in Monterey Bay
Project Manager/Lead Scientist: Larry Madin
This project follows on work conducted in 2002-2003, which identified and characterized a new genus and species of salp (Tunicata: Thaliacea) that occurs in meso- and bathypelagic depths in Monterey Bay and Canyon. During two remaining cruises in 2003, experiments will measure rates of ingestion and metabolism for this species. The results should allow us to characterize the energetics of the species and estimate its role as a midwater grazer and re-packager of small particulates.
For 2004-2005, the feeding and energetics work will be extended to other tunicate filter feeders in the midwater environment, notably doliolids and appendicularians, in order to obtain a more complete picture of the role of these grazers in the cycling of particulate material at these depths. The methods will include collection of live specimens with ROV Ventana or ROV Tiburon, shipboard incubation experiments to measure feeding and metabolic rates. We will also determine abundance and spatial/seasonal distribution of the different tunicate species from transect studies done by the midwater groups and from data in the MBARI video archives. Additionally, we will begin exploration of in situ techniques to estimate certain properties of the organisms, including tissue density and carbon content and gut contents, without the necessity of bringing the animal back to the lab. If feasible, such methods will eventually allow collection of much more information on the biomass and activity of these organisms and their role in midwater biogeochemistry.