CeDAMar (The Census of the Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life), one of the research projects within the Census of Marine Life Programme, went off in late January to explore the Antarctic deep sea. During the next two months the researchers will be writing a cruise log online - so log on and join their expedition virtually.
The RV Polarstern's position February 3.
~ CeDAMar website
~ CeDAMar expedition site
CeDAMar's big-picture goal is to find out what the benthic communities consist of, the history of how they colonized the abyssal plains of the Southern Ocean, and which factors are influencing them today. Among these factors are characteristics of sediment and the overlying water column, currents, temperature, food availability, and adaptations of the animals to cold, darkness, and scarcity of food.
In cooperation of other projects concerned with sampling the seafloor of deep-sea basins they want to get a better handle on the deep-sea fauna of the eastern Atlantic from pole to pole, how it changes from one basis to another, how closely related the communities are between adjacent basins, and how large the species richness of the deep sea is, e.g., compared with that of tropical rainforests.