Fiji/Lau Expedition
May 15–June 3, 2005

Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.

May 22, 2005

Overnight we moved to a new collecting site called Hine Hina, our last collecting site in the Lau Basin. I want to take this opportunity to include the additional research summaries. 

Anders Warén of the Swedish Natural History Museum is looking for gastropods. Anders has studied and classified snails and slugs from 12 major sites around the world. He is looking specifically for the genus Leptogyra and other strange gastropods. 

Victoria Orphan of California Institute of Technology is looking at how bacteria and members of the Kingdom Archaea, influence the geo-chemical cycles at deep-sea vents. Archaea are single celled microbes that look like bacteria but are not. Bacteria and Archaea fix carbon from carbon dioxide and methane, and sulfur from sulfides into compounds that they can use to metabolize and grow. In turn, these simple life forms become the foundation for the food webs in this most unusual biological community. 

Shana Goffredi of California Institute of Technology is studying the symbiotic relationships between bacteria and the animals that inhabit these deep-sea vent communities. Bacteria produce food for a variety of snails, mussels, anemones, worms and other deep-sea vent animals. In return, the animals provide a hospitable groove, gill, surface or opening for the bacteria to nestle into and spend its simple yet important existence. The animals provide a home and make available a variety of critical compounds to the bacteria. In return, the bacteria provide the animals with energy and essential nutrients for life. Shana is attempting to identify the biochemical pathways that are involved in this mutually satisfying relationship. 

Michel Segonzac from IFREMER, the French oceanography institute, is studying the taxonomy and ecology of shrimp and other deep-sea organisms. Michel has collected from sites all over the globe. If a question arises about names or classification, Michel is the person to go to.
–Todd Bliss

Victoria checks out this unusual rock of sulfur for bacteria to analyze.


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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)