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Epibenthos

 RedstickEpibenthos are animals living on or immediately above the seafloor. Some are attached to the substrate, others are mobile. Examples are sponges, corals and seastars.

A particularly interesting mobile group is the sea cucumbers which have swimming representatives in the deep-sea. Photographic images from submersibles used by MAR-ECO provide new insight and discoveries.

Elements

1) The extensive studies of benthos and benthopelagic fauna on the Sedlo Seamount withinthe OASIS project (Funded by the EU 5th Framework Programme, initiated in 2003).

2) Opportunistic sampling and collection of images on MAR-ECO cruises 2003-2005.
Samples to be curated and made available by the Bergen Museum and other participants.

Aims

To contribute to the OASIS effort and objectives, but also secure samples and images from more northern parts of the MAR. Target groups are:
1. Hard bottom epibenthos (sponges, echinoderms, cnidarians)
2. Soft bottom epibenthos (crustacea, echinoderms, molluscs, polychaetes)
3. Benthopelagic fauna (crustacea, chaetognaths, polychaetes,echinoderms)

Themes

1) Latitudinal change in ecosystem structure (Species diversity, community structure, functional group diversity, trophic relationships).
2) Regional (longitudinal) change.
3) Factors influencing epibenthos diversity (environmental heterogeneity (seasonality in food supply, oceanographic regimes, topography), food supply, predation, time-dependent processes (stability, evolution)).
4) Trophic relationships
5) Life-history strategies.

Strategy

See details of the OASIS effort at website. Opportunistic sampling north of the Sedlo Seamount, primarily in MAR-ECO boxes.

Technology

  • Seabed characterisation using swath bathymetry reflectivity or sidescan sonar
  • Wide area photographic surveys
  • Benthopelagic sampling
  • Epibenthos sampling (sledges, ROV, photography, baited traps).

Schedule

Sampling at Sedlo seamount as part of the OASIS project, and opportunistic sampling of images and samples from vessels and submersibles: 2003-2004, Further analyses, dissemination, and provision of data to OBIS: 2005-2008.

Commitments

MAR-ECO grant for Russian data mining 2002, EU 5th FP OASIS Project activities at Sedlo Seamount, incl. labour and other costs.

Partners

Principal Investigator: Dave Billett (United Kingdom)

Andrey Gebruk and other Russians, OASIS partners such as Bernd Christiansen, Angelica Brandt, Cornelia Warneke-Cremer (Germany), Endre Willassen (Norway).

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