[from the INDEEP mailing list]
Sounds like all is going well in the Pacific on the current Abyssline Cruise:
“ABYSSLINE” stands for Abyssal Biological Baseline Project, an international research program to study biodiversity, connectivity and gene flow of deep seafloor communities targeted for nodule mining in the future. Our study sites lie at ocean depths exceeding 4000 m (2 miles) and are among the most poorly studied ecosystems on the planet. These habitats are also characterized by a high diversity of seafloor invertebrates. Our benthic biological baseline studies address the following key questions:
1) What are the baseline conditions of community structure and biodiversity for the key benthic abiotic components of this abyssal benthic ecosystem (megafauna, macrofauna, meiofauna and microbes)?
2) How do community structure, sediment community respiration, and biodiversity vary as a function of environmental parameters (especially nodule cover) within and across three study areas (or “strata”) within the UK-1 Claim Area, and between years within one of these study areas?
3) What is the connectivity at species and population levels between strata and across the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (see below) for representative components of the biota?