Laboratory of Ocean Benthic Fauna
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology
Life at the seafloor on the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Wednesday — August 28, 2013
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.
Overview of benthos studies in two recent large projects, MAR-ECO and ECOMAR, will be given. Both projects were focused on mid-ocean ecosystems of the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR), between the Azores and Iceland, with special attention to the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone area in the vicinity of the sub polar front where the North Atlantic Current crosses the MAR. Swath bathymetry surveys across the ridge revealed a pattern of sediment-covered flat terraces parallel to the axis of the MAR with intervening steep rocky slopes. Soft sediment habitats constitute approximately 95% of the surface on the ridge. Dominant taxa in these habitats are echinoderms, and first of all holothurians. About 55 holothurian species are known from the northern MAR; 32 of them were recorded in ECOMAR. Among the latter, 70% of species are able to swim. Details of fauna composition, ecology and distribution will be given.