New research shines a light on the importance of submarine canyons

phys.org | 10/2/2018 | Staff
tanikaki (Posted by) Level 3
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We are only beginning to understand the vital role that submarine canyons play in our global ocean. Acting as 'deep sea gutters', these biodiversity hotspots trap and concentrate organic matter that serves as food for many marine invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals.

While nearly 10,000 submarine canyons have been mapped to date, only 8.5% of them have been studied by the scientific community. In a new volume of research published recently in Progress in Oceanography, 17 scientific articles describe new discoveries on physical, geological, and biological processes of these incredibly diverse and dynamic seabed topographic features, highlighting the key role submarine canyons play in 'Bridging the gap between the shallow and deep oceans.'

Majority - Research - International - Network - Submarine

The majority of this research was presented at the 3rd International Network for Submarine Canyon Investigation and Scientific Exchange (INCISE) Symposium, hosted in Victoria, British Columbia in July 2016, co-sponsored by Ocean Networks Canada (ONC).

This special volume includes a review of the history of submarine canyon research. The earliest submarine canyon study dates to 1929, but it was not until the early 2000's that this field started to achieve a high degree of interdisciplinarity, with research topics becoming more cohesive and interconnected.

Topics - Volume - Research - Oceanography - Geomorphology

Other topics in the volume include research on physical oceanography, geomorphology and natural sedimentary processes; quantifying the submarine canyon seafloor habitat; the impacts of bottom trawling; and an in-depth investigation of Barkley Canyon in the northeast Pacific off Vancouver Island.

Since its installation in 2009, ONC's offshore cabled observatory has made it possible to study Barkley Canyon's ecosystem in great detail. ONC's extensive network of sensors and cameras provides researchers with access to real-time data of benthic (seafloor) marine life and the main oceanographic processes governing their distribution and biodiversity.

Finding - ONC - Scientist - Fabio - De

A new and interesting finding by ONC's senior scientist Fabio De Leo and co-authors was the surprising observation of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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