Deep Sea Biology and Ecology
The portion of the seafloor below 200 meters represents approximately 64% of the surface of the earth, making it the largest ecosystem on the planet. Yet less than 0.0001% of this 326 million km2 area has been sampled or explored. Deep-sea biologists study a broad range of topics to help understand this remote frontier. Florida State University is unique in the country in the number of scientists specializing in research on deep-sea fauna. Research within our programs encompasses habitat mapping, exploration of new areas of seafloor, species distributions, connectivity, reproduction, phylogenetics, and community ecology. Within these areas, we focus on deep-sea corals, sponges, fishes, chemosynthetic communities, and sediment infauna, including macrofauna and meiofauna. As anthropogenic impacts rapidly progress deeper into the oceans, we also examine the impacts of trawl fisheries, climate change, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea communities.