Research

Although all aspects of deep-sea biology interest me, I am more fond of some than others. My current research interests are:

Biodiversity in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone

A sea cucumber in the CCZ. Photo credit: IFREMER, NODINAUT cruise.

A sea cucumber in the CCZ. Photo credit: IFREMER.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is a large area in the Pacific Ocean where deep-sea mining may one day occur. It is also one of the least-explored areas on our planet. My research over the last two years has been trying to understand what megafauna live in the CCZ. Only by understanding what lives here, can we effectively manage resource extraction. Read more about my research here.

Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps

Hydrothermal vents on the East Scotia Ridge. Photo credit: NERC.

Hydrothermal vents on the East Scotia Ridge. Photo credit: NERC.

Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are some of the most enigmatic deep-sea habitats. They are remarkable for their abundance of life, their wealth of new species and because energy is made by chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis. I have been fortunate to work at several vent and seep sites including the world’s deepest vents and the world’s most southerly vents. Read more about my research here.

Organic falls

Wood fall off California. Photo credit: Craig Smith.

A wood fall off California. Photo credit: Craig Smith.

When a whale dies or tree is washed out to sea, it gradually sinks to the deep seafloor. The arrival of a carcass or piece of wood prompts a feeding bonanza with animals coming from near and far for a meal and shelter. This is what is termed an organic fall. Organic falls, specifically whale falls and wood falls, are very special to me as that was what my Ph.D. research focused on. Read more about my research here.

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