Whale Fall cruise Montery Bay Canyon

Funding agency:

Austrian Science Fund FWF project # P20228-B17 to M.B.

The David and Lucille Packard Foundation

Projects:

Tropholution

18/12/2007 – 20/12/2007

Chief scientist: R. C. Vrijenhoek (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, USA)

Austrian participants: Sigrid Katz

Research Vessel Western Flyer

ROV Tiburon

working in the ROV control room

I was invited again on another whale fall cruise. This time we wanted to collect devices for Osedax settlement deployed in August and collect specimens of Osedax from natural whale bones at five whale falls in the Monterey Bay Canyon between 385 m and 2,893 m depth.

Osedax collections

Osedax is a member of the family Siboglinidae, closely related to the symbiotic vestimentiferan tubeworms from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Like Vestimentiferans they are living in symbiosis with bacteria. However, their symbionts are not chemoautrophs like in Vestimentiferans but heterotrophs. Also in contrast to Vestimentiferans Osedax house their symbionts within root-like structures penetrating into whale skeletons sunken to the seafloor.

We successfully recovered modified cow bones from whale -1820 deployed them at 4 different whale falls. We also collected several Osedax specimens from natural whale bones.

recovered cow bone discs

I would like to thank R. C. Vrijenhoek for his support. Special thanks to Shannon B. Johnson and Julio Harvey for their help and pleasant collaboration. More information about the ROV Tiburon and the Western Flyer is provided on the MBARI website.