News Round-Up

Deep-sea animal communities can change dramatically and erratically over time


A 30-year study off the California coast has revealed dramatic fluctuations in deep-sea animal communities. Despite decades of research, scientists are still not sure what drives these changes. These findings are described in a recent paper by former MBARI researcher Linda Kuhnz and other MBARI scientists.

This paper and 15 others will be published in a special issue of Deep-Sea Research in summer 2020. The issue focuses on research at Station M, a deep-sea study site about 220 kilometres (137 miles) west of the Central California coast and 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) below the surface.

MBARI marine ecologist Ken Smith has led research efforts at Station M for three decades, using every conceivable oceanographic tool—seafloor cameras, landers, core samplers, sediment traps, and a variety of underwater robots. MORE

Header image: Sea pigs are a type of deep-sea sea cucumber whose populations may increase after large pulses of food sink to the deep seafloor. The gelatinous material at the bottom of the image (probably part of a pyrosome) is one example of the kinds of food in these pulses. The red dots are about 29 centimetres apart and are used to estimate the sizes of objects in the image. Credit: MBARI.

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