Alex Roger’s voyage to underwater mountains
Invisible Dust advisor Dr Alex Rogers, marine biologist from Oxford University is leading an expedition on the RR James Cook ship to the South West Indian Ocean to discover new underwater mountain ranges (or seamounts) thousands of metres below the ocean surface.
Wildlife ecosystems developing on these special features of the high seas are remarkably rich due to seamounts’ elevated positition in the water column and their interactions with underwater currents. The deep oceans represent approximately 90% of the habitable area for life on Earth but the biodiversity and ecology of these ecosystems are poorly studied and understood.
The intricate ecosystems below have become the focus of an Invisible Dust collaboration between artist Mariele Neudecker who is known for creating atmospheric alternative realities in glass vitrines and Dr. Alex Rogers. His research focuses on the diversity, ecology, conservation and evolution of marine species.
Between 7 November and 21 December the main focus of this expedition is to investigate benthic assemblages (community of organisms which live on, in or near the seabed) on these seamounts, whereas the first cruise in late 2009 focused on the pelagic ecosystems (community of organisms which live in the water column not close to the bottom). Four days of ship time has been added to further investigate hydrothermal vents in the area.
See the voyage blog.