The extraordinary creatures that are found around the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are the subject of a live webcast from Norway Tomorrow – Wednesday 21 October, from 12 noon.
Dr Alan Hughes from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), will join Professor Monty Priede of the University of Aberdeen to give a talk on “Bottom dwellers on peaks and plains” focusing on the species that dwell on the vast underwater mountain range.
The webcast, which is also being televised, is part of the Census of Marine Life MAR-ECO (Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystems) field project. The event is managed by the Institute for Marine Research, Bergen. Alan is working as part of the NERC Consortium Grant ECOMAR (Ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge), the UK’s contribution to the MAR-ECO project which is studying non-hydrothermal vent ecosystems on mid-ocean ridges. The next ECOMAR cruise will take place next summer, using the NOCS-based Isis remotely operated vehicle (ROV) aboard the research ship, RRS James Cook.
A major question posed at the start of the project was “How similar are the fauna on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to those at similar depths on the continental margins in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic?” and trawl samples from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are providing surprises already. Initial results show that there are many new species on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and, while there are some similarities to species found on the continental margins, overall, the assemblages on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are distinct. The samples are being worked on by Claudia Alt as part of her PhD studies at NOCS.
The work will provide valuable data for the management of resources and the conservation of biodiversity in the North Atlantic.
To see the webcast, visit: www.mar-eco.no