WHOI  WHOI People  

Protistan diversity under the perennial Arctic ice and in the vicinity of Gakkel Ridge hydrothermal vent sites

Protistan diversity under the perennial Arctic ice and in the vicinity of Gakkel Ridge hydrothermal vent sites

Mark R. Dennett, Biology

Grant Funded 2007

The Gakkel Ridge vent system offers a unique opportunity to study and compare marine microbial communities with implications for both global warming and the evolution of organisms.  Protists (microalgae and protozoa) are essential components to all marine ecosystems, especially the polar regions, but there have been very few genetic comparisons of protistan diversity in perennially cold waters. Sea ice loss and warming of the water in the Arctic will have a significant impact on polar microbial populations, and likely the rest of the marine food web. The extremely slow spreading rate and the isolated nature of the Gakkel Ridge make it a distinctive vent community. Not only is it likely that novel species exist there, this project will provide a valuable comparison with other vent community studies. The ability to utilize a ship of opportunity to this extremely, remote high latitude region at this time will provide baseline samples for molecular community comparisons and climate change.

Last updated: June 25, 2007