In April-May 2005, Cruise TUIM05MV (R/V Melville and DSV Jason2) conducted the first detailed sampling and characterization of multiple vent fields along the Eastern Lau Spreading Center, Lau Basin in the SW Pacific Ocean. Primary cruise objectives were to explore the links between geology, geochemistry, microbiology and macrofaunal populations at six hydrothermal vent fields in this back-arc basin.
Biologists wish to understand the factors that dictate the dynamics of biological communities, such as this population of solitary anemones (Marianactis?), mussels (Bathymodiolus bervior) and barnacles (Neoverruca brachylepadoformis and/or Eochoionelasmus ohtai) from the TowCam hydrothermal vent field. (Copyright 2005 Paul R. Craddock)