Expedition to the Underwater Volcanoes of the Northeast Pacific: Life at the Extreme

December 18, 2013

One of the most profound oceanic discoveries in the past 20 years is the dense and diverse biological communities, thriving in the absence of sunlight, that are supported by gases released from submarine volcanoes thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ocean. Ongoing research at these towering seafloor vent structures has significantly changed the way we think about life on our planet and has led to a growing recognition that the subsurface biomass within the oceanic crust may rival that of the earth’s entire surface. The VISIONS ’05 ocean expedition focuses on microbial fluxes during sub-seafloor earthquakes, the limits to life in extreme environments, and the chemical exchanges that support microbial and macrobial life. Teachers with the REVEL Project join oceanographers on the cruise to gain insights into how science research is conducted, relaying their shipboard experiences to students in the classroom.

John Delaney, School of Oceanography, NEPTUNE program director, Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair for Sensor Networks, University of Washington
Deborah Kelley, professor, School of Oceanography, University of Washington