Food web dynamics



The overarching goal of the food web study is to further explain the complex structure and functioning of the deep sea food web off Central California, with a primary focus on the role of understudied midwater animals. Biochemical markers such as stable isotopes, fatty acids, and trace metals, have been used with great success in deep sea ecosystems. For example, fatty acid biomarkers of surface-ocean fishes and squid were found to match fatty acid profiles of the common abyssal rattail fish, drawing a decisive trophic link between the surface and deep sea communities (Drazen et al. 2009). Additionally, the concentration levels of mercury in pelagic micronekton and large fishes are a promising proxy to estimate depth of forage and to trace the transport of organic matter in pelagic environments (Choy et al. 2009; Blum et al. 2013). The objective here is to use proven biochemical markers to identify and quantify previously unrecognized trophic pathways in the Monterey Bay pelagic ecosystem.

Filter-feeding gelatinous animals like giant larvaceans, salps, and doliolids mediate sinking particle flux, in some cases transporting substantial amounts of carbon into the deep sea (Robison et al. 2005). Other predatory gelatinous animals like large siphonophores and medusae directly consume micronektonic animals (e.g., crustaceans, fishes, and small cephalopods), and are in turn consumed by pelagic predatory fishes like opah and tunas (Choy et al. 2013). In this way, dominant gelatinous animals serve as critical trophic nodes in epipelagic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic food webs, necessitating ecological study of their overall roles.


Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Acoustic instruments
Acoustic fingerprinting
Acoustic community ecology
Acoustics in the news
Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Krill hotspots in the California Current
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Ecogenomic Sensing
Genomic sensors
Field experiments
Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
Water quality
Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
ESP Web Portal
In the news
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Revealing the secrets of Sur Ridge
Exploring Sur Ridge’s coral gardens
Life at Sur Ridge
Mapping Sur Ridge
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Previous research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Station M: A long-term observatory on the abyssal seafloor
Station M long-term time series
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
CCE instruments
CCE repeat mapping data
Monterey Canyon: A Grand Canyon beneath the waves
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Bioluminescence: Living light in the deep sea
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Past research
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean