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WCMB 2008 Session 1.6 - Biodiversity, Biogeography and Vulnerability of Deep-Water Seamount and Chemosynthetic Ecosystems

CenSeam and ChEss have a joint session in the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity. You can find the online registration, abstract submission for both oral and poster presentations, and details on the CenSeam, ChEss and WCMB web sites. Registration for the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity in Valencia (11-15 November 2008) is open with the deadline of April 1st.

Session Description: Seamounts and mid-ocean ridges have been sampled since the time of the Challenger expedition, but only in the past few decades have deep-water sampling gear and underwater vehicles permitted detailed investigations of the diversity and biogeography of seamount and mid-ocean ridge fauna. The discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977 has resulted in a range of research on chemosynthetic environments, with over 500 new species from vents, 200 from seeps, and 400 from whale falls now described. However, only 300 of an estimated 100,000 seamounts and less than 3% of the global mid-ocean ridge have been studied or explored, respectively. Although diversity and endemism can be high, the processes that drive patterns of diversity and distribution in these ecosystems are poorly known. With growing concern over the impacts and sustainability of deep-sea fisheries and increasing mineral exploration activities there is a critical need to identify the composition, distribution, and diversity of these deep-water faunas, as well as anthropogenic impacts on these ecosystems. This session will discuss the latest results that address patterns and processes of biodiversity, biogeography, and conservation of deep-water seamount and chemosynthetic ecosystems. The session is particularly relevant to the Census of Marine Life projects CenSeam and ChEss.

Conveners: Tim Shank (WHOI, and Paul Tyler (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton,

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