LADDER stands for LArval Dispersal on the Deep East Pacific Rise. It is an interdisciplinary research project investigating larval dispersal and physical oceanography at a mid-ocean ridge. The Principal Investigators are Lauren Mullineaux (WHOI), Andreas Thurnherr (LDEO), Jim Ledwell (WHOI), Dennis McGillicuddy (WHOI) and Bill Lavelle (NOAA/PMEL). The project is funded by NSF Grant OCE-0424953. (View Proposal)
objective of the LADDER project is to investigate oceanographic and topographic
influences on larval retention and dispersal in hydrothermal vent communities.
The focus is on processes occurring on relatively short spatial O(10-100km) and
temporal O(1month) scales, corresponding roughly to invertebrate larval life
spans. In addition to the primary
ecological goals, the LADDER project also addresses issues of interest to the
physical oceanography community, in particular horizontal and vertical
dispersal (both advective and eddy diffusive) near the ridge crest.
1) What are the influences of advection and eddy diffusion on the maximal dispersal distance of vent species with given larval life spans?
2) How do the flows influence the probability of a larva being retained at or returned to its natal site?
3) What are the effects of ontogenetic changes in larval behavior
(i.e., vertical positioning) on species' retention or dispersal distances?
5) What are the mean and temporally varying flows in the vicinity of
a mid-ocean ridge crest, and what is their spatial structure and