Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Bruce Robison
This continuing project addresses vertical distribution and ecology of both mesopelagic and bathypelagic animals. The deeper work is a unique research effort, enabled by MBARI's ROV capabilities. By continuing the bathypelagic series through 2005, we will have a statistically valid data set for describing this deep community. We will also continue the mesopelagic time series of transects, which is a critical asset for several of our ongoing studies.
George Matsumoto will continue to work on sequencing and analyzing scyphozoans for publication and plans to start work on animals from the benthic boundary layer.
Postdoc Lou Zeidberg uses stable isotope analysis (SIA) to trace the pathways of organic matter through the pelagic food web. In 2005 we will shift to higher trophic levels and expand the chemical studies to include fatty acid analysis (FAA). While SIA can determine the level at which an animal is feeding, FAA can distinguish between prey at a similar trophic level. The combination should lead to a much better understanding of the export and remineralization of carbon and nitrogen as they move from surface waters to the deep benthos.
Graduate Research Assistant Karen Osborn's dissertation research addresses the ecology and systematics of munnopsid isopods ("spiders"). A strong link exists between oxygen profiles and the geographical distribution of a common eastern Pacific munnopsid. Molecular and morphological information continue to shed light on relationships within this diverse family. SEM examinion of gut contents and jaw structure supports hypotheses of feeding modes for three genera.