Fiji/Lau Expedition
May 15–June 3, 2005

Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.

May 20, 2005

Today is our second day diving at the Tui Malila site. Even highly technological expeditions have occasional communication difficulties. Our satellite connection has been down. I took the opportunity to gather additional information from each science group. Here, in layman's terms are some of their thoughts. 

Chief Scientist Robert Vrijenhoek and his team from MBARI are collecting samples to compare their DNA with similar vent organisms previously collected in the Eastern Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Joe Jones is interested in phylogenetic relationships of deep-sea mussels and squat lobsters. Rob Young studies deep-sea tube worms and factors that affect their dispersal. Shannon Johnson studies deep-sea limpets and snails. This group of scientists is also interested in locating barriers to gene flow among the different species occupying these far-flung vent habitats. 

Cindy Lee Van Dover and her team from The College of William and Mary are conducting quantitative studies on communities associated with deep-sea vent mussel beds. They are comparing these organisms with ones previously found along the East Pacific Rise, Mid Atlantic Ridge and various cold seeps. Kristi Ericson, Lizzie Blake, Carol Logan, Taylor Heyl and Josh Osterberg provide Cindy with an outstanding support team of young scientists. 

Karen Jacobsen is an outstanding bio-illustrator. She creates amazing watercolor images of the beautiful and varied organisms. 

Greg Rouse from the South Australian Museum is hoping to find new forms of segmented worms that live on or near the vents. This extremely diverse phylum has species that range from the microscopic, to species a meter or more in length. Greg will learn more about Vestimentiferan worms and hopefully find new, never before seen forms of annelids. Working along side Greg is Fredrik Pleijel a professor from the Swedish Göteborg University. Fred too is a world renowned expert on worms and hopes to find Hesionid worms in these deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Fred specializes in worm morphology and anatomy. The other research summaries will be reserved for another day.

The feeding end of a beautiful Alaysia worm.

A barnacle.


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This expedition has been made possible by National Science Foundation grants to Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek (NSF OCE-0241613) and Dr. Cindy Van Dover (NSF OCE-0350554)