Gulf of Mexico Cruise: AT 15-03

The U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE

Projects:

Quantitative Meiobenthos Collections

Sclerolinum Symbiosis

Discovery of the largest free-living nematode

5/7/2006 - 6/2/2006

Chief scientists: C. R. Fisher (PennState University, USA) and H. Roberts (Louisiana State University, USA)

Austrian participants:

Monika Bright

Research Vessel Atlantis

Deep Submerged Vehicle Alvin

I was invited to study the meiobenthic chemosynthetic communities at deep-sea cold seeps below 1,000 m depth in the Gulf of Mexico. I would like to thank C. R. Fisher for his support. Special thanks to Eric Cordez and Stephane Hourdez for their fruitful and pleasant collaboration. More informations about Alvin and Atlantis and all cruises are provided on the WHOI website.

Quantitative Meiobenthos Collections 2006

The objective of this study is to characterize the meiobenthic chemosynthetic communities at depths below 1,000 m in the Gulf of Mexico in order to understand how these deep communities are similar or different from their shallower counterparts. We collected mainly 4 communities characterized by the occurrence of large macrofauna animals such as vestimentiferan tubeworms, Sclerolinum tubeworms, mussels, and sea urchins.

Available diploma theses: Meiobenthos

                                          mussel aggregation                                                                               tubeworm aggregation

Sclerolinum Symbiosis

At one of the sites, we found large aggregations of a new species of Sclerolinum. Representatives of this genus are known from deep-sea wood falls and live in symbiosis with endosymbiotic bacteria in the trophosome. The symbiosis of this new species will be studied in detail.

                                                                                            new species of Sclerolinum

Discovery of the largest free-living nematode

At one of the sites, we found a very large up to 2.5 cm long free-living nematode associated with mussels.

                                                                                               new species of nematode