Feasibility Study for a Biodiversity Initiative
Six MBARI scientists whose disciplines span the ocean surface to the benthos—Bruce Robison, Steve Haddock, Ken Smith, Jim Barry, Alexandra Worden, and Bob Vrijenhoek—will spend 2009 planning an institute initiative in biodiversity. This ambitious undertaking will scope out what operative definition of biodiversity will be appropriate, what spatial scale is both practical and meaningful, what new technologies need to be developed to get the job done, and what sort of commitment would be required to both define the baseline and track changes in response to natural and anthropogenic forcing. This candidate initiative builds off the success of Robison’s and Barry’s midwater and benthic time series, Ken Smith’s benthic time series at Station M, Alexandra Worden’s basic research on the ocean’s smallest photosynthetic organisms, Haddock’s taxonomic studies of zooplankton diversity, and Bob Vrijenhoek’s studies of larval dispersal in the deep sea. Under consideration for technical approaches are the new capabilities of the benthic imaging vehicle and the ability of the MOOS mooring to collect long time series.