To date, the only known and studied hydrothermal sites in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) are found north of the Equator, between 14º and 38ºN. From 17. February to 5. March, scientists from the ChEss-project will be off for an exploration cruise to find new vent sites in the MAR south of the equator - an area that still remains a virgin area for exploration. Their project and cruise diary can be followed online!
Black smoker from a mid-ocean ridge vent site. Credit: ChEss
The Biogeography of Chemosynthetic Ecosytems (ChEss) project is a field project of the Census of Marine Life (CoML) programme. ChEss is a global study of the distribution, abundance and diversity of species in deep-water chemosynthetic ecosystems. Directed from the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the United Kingdom, ChEss aims to improve our knowledge of the biogeography of chemosynthetic ecosystems and the processes driving them.
The study of the MAR south of the Equator is essential, both to provide basic knowledge of the specific location and characteristics of hydrothermal activity, but also to answer major scientific questions on the biogeography of hydrothermal vent fauna along a ridge axis and across ocean basins.
On this cruise, they will carry out acustic mapping with TOBI , which is a sidescan sonar.
~ Chess website
~ Cruise diary MAR south of the Equator (17 February - 5 march 2005)
~ Cruise journal from the TAG hydrothermal vent field in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (25 October - 10 November 2004)