Benthic biology and ecology
Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Jim Barry
Seafloor community dynamics and benthic-pelagic coupling
We will continue video transects on Smooth Ridge. The first phase of these long-term measurements will be completed with the analysis and publication of results concerning changes in faunal community structure. In addition we will analyze some of MBARI's archived video, collected along the walls of Monterey Canyon. The result of these analyses will be a comprehensive description of the faunal assemblages that occur within Monterey Canyon and along the non-canyon continental slope.
The current objectives of the pelagic-benthic coupling studies are to continue the time series of flux measurements in Monterey Canyon and on Smooth Ridge and to integrate these measurements with those from instruments deployed recently in lower Monterey Canyon at Shepard Meander. Comparison of these, coupled with measurements of organic material on the seabed, should help constrain the energetics of canyon and non-canyon benthos.
Biology of deep-sea CO2 disposal
The goals of this project are to evaluate the sensitivities of deep-sea organisms to elevated CO2 levels, as expected in association with large-scale deep-sea CO2 release or by the longer-term elevation of oceanic pH by air-sea exchange. We will continue studies of faunal tolerance to CO2 / pH plumes and physiological studies of pH compensation and metabolic depression for deep-sea organisms.
Non-vent lava-flow ecosystem studies
We hope to collaborate with Dave Clague on studies of subsea eruptions on the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges. Planned geological surveys of submarine lava flows will provide a unique opportunity to survey faunal communities on these flows and infer rates and patterns of successional development for deep-sea communities inhabiting hard substrata. This project promises the opportunity to identify the time scales and patterns of deep-sea community development by comparing the faunal assemblages on flows of different ages.
This is the final year of a three-year project.