credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Cruise title: LIFE AND DEATH AT AXIAL SEAMOUNT: PROTATAX 2023Lead PIs: Julie Huber, Maria Pachiadaki, and Sarah Hu
Location: Northeast Pacific Ocean
Dates: 16 July 2023
Water-rock reactions at and below the seafloor support a diverse biosphere of microscopic life in crustal ocean habitats, providing critical ecosystem services such as primary production to sustain deep-sea food webs and nutrient and element recycling. Nowhere is this more visible than at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, where the mixing of hot hydrothermal fluid with cool seawater creates hotspots of microbial activity in the deep sea. While we have learned a lot about the microbes (bacteria and archaea), we know much less about other components of the food web, especially microbial eukaryotes, leaving a substantial gap in our knowledge of food web structure and carbon cycling. On this cruise to Axial Seamount, a deep-sea volcano about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon, we will study protistan interactions with microbes in the form of grazing and cell lysis, which most certainly impacts the distribution and richness of microbial populations and the flow of carbon, nutrients, and energy in these ecosystems. To follow our cruise, please check #protatax23 on Twitter & Instagram.