Chemosynthetic ecosystems are based on energy from chemical reactions rather than the the sun and are found in a variety of deep-sea habitats from hydrothermal vents to hydrocarbon seeps and whale falls. People in the Shank Lab are investigating population genetics and biogeography of vent fauna, ecology and evolution of chemosynthetic fauna, and colonization patterns and temporal genetic diversity.
Seamounts are geological features that rise at 1000m or more from the seaafloor and often form long chains. These features are often 'hotspots' for endemic species, as well as major fishing areas in some parts of the world. People within the Shank Lab are investigating connectivity between these seamounts using tried and tested, as well as novel molecular techniques on invertebrate species from seamount chains around the world.
Cold-water corals can be found in all the world's oceans, spanning depths of just a few meters to over 6000m. These corals are being recognised as important resources, harboring many commercial species of fish, as well as over 1000 species of invertebrate. People in the Shank Lab are investigating new methods to examine populations of these deep-water corals, as well as examining their ecology and biology.
The hadal zone, comprised primarily of deep ocean trenches and troughs, represents the deepest marine habitat on Earth (6000 to 11,000 meters or 3.7 to 6.8 miles), accounting for the deepest 45% of the global ocean. Far from being devoid of life as originally perceived in the 1800s, more than 300 species are known to live in the 21 trenches around the world. People in the Shank Lab are investigating the major environmental drivers of trench ecology, in particular the effects of depht on megafaunal composition and distribution, speciation and population structuring in these extreme environments.
|Developing Tools for Deep-Submergence and Observatory Science
The Shank Lab is involved in developing new pieces of equipment to be used in deep submergence science.
Some of the other projects people within the Shank Lab are working on.