Mariana Vent Larvae (MarVeL) Workshop: International Study of Connectivity Between Hydrothermal Vents
Convenors: Stace Beaulieu (WHOI), Satoshi Mitarai (OIST), and Hiromi Watanabe (JAMSTEC)
Dates: 10-11 May 2012
Despite three decades of research on deep-sea hydrothermal vents, larval dispersal and population connectivity between these discrete and extreme habitats remain poorly understood. Connectivity, which occurs on time scales of one to several generations, is what ultimately drives the biogeography of the species endemic to hydrothermal vents. Understanding connectivity between vents requires expertise from multiple disciplines, including biology, physical oceanography, and the geo-sciences.
The MarVeL Workshop will catalyze new collaborations between multi-disciplinary research groups from the U.S., Japan, and other nations, with the goal to develop a coordinated plan to study connectivity between hydrothermal vents in a region of high priority to the international community.
Our main objectives are to:
• Develop a coordinated research plan to study connectivity between hydrothermal vents in the Western Pacific, specifically considering the Mariana arc and back-arc, and
• Share state-of-the-art methods and data for studies of larval dispersal and population connectivity of deep-sea vent fauna in regions currently being investigated by U.S., Japanese, and other PIs.
Meeting together to share our combined expertise and discuss future studies and sharing of resources will enable insight into:
• Understanding larval dispersal among discrete deep-sea habitats separated by topography, distance, and depth,
• Understanding larval settlement, colonization of, and recruitment to habitats differing in vent fluid chemistry, perhaps an analogy to the spreading of life between harsh or extreme habitat patches on early Earth,
• Population connectivity in a marine protected area,
• How the Mariana vent species group with the southwest vs. the northwest Pacific biogeographic province for vent fauna, even though the Mariana region is greatly separated from vents to the south.