Explore the Deep Sea


Expedition 5: Animals again

The fifth expedition to the Lau Basin (June 2005) concentrated on studying the biology of animals living near deep-sea vents, like this scaleworm (left).

Expeditions to the Lau Basin in 2004 and 2005

A scaleworm. Image courtesy of B. Nichols

The expedition visited several different vent sites between Tonga and Fiji, to:


A composite picture of a seafloor pillar. Image courtesy of M. Tivey

Researchers took close-up color photos of the seafloor using the remotely-operated submersible, Jason II. They also photographed the sides of 3-D vent structures such as chimneys, formed from compounds precipitating out when the hot vent fluid met cold seawater.

These photos can be stitched together into photomosaics showing where animals are living in relation to vents.

The mosaic images will help researchers test ideas about relationships between animals and environmental conditions. They will also help researchers track changes in the animal communities over time, as conditions change.

Next: Lau Basin study sites