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Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION
Doing Business As Name:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
PD/PI:
  • Lauren S Mullineaux
  • (508) 289-2898
  • lmullineaux@whoi.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Stace E Beaulieu
Award Date:08/14/2018
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 397,397
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 397,397
  • FY 2018=$397,397
Start Date:04/01/2019
End Date:03/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Trajectories in functional diversity after disturbance at vents on the East Pacific Rise
Federal Award ID Number:1829773
DUNS ID:001766682
Parent DUNS ID:001766682
Program:BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Program Officer:
  • Daniel J. Thornhill
  • (703) 292-8143
  • dthornhi@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:183 OYSTER POND ROAD
City:WOODS HOLE
State:MA
ZIP:02543-1041
County:Woods Hole
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:09

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Street:266 Woods Hole Road
City:Woods Hole
State:MA
ZIP:02543-1015
County:Woods Hole
Country:US
Cong. District:09

Abstract at Time of Award

Hydrothermal vents support oases of life in the deep sea and are inhabited by unusual organisms that use chemical energy instead of photosynthesis as the basis of their food web. However, because the vents occur in geologically active areas of the seafloor, entire communities can be eradicated by catastrophic natural disturbances such as eruptions. The main objectives of this project are to quantify how quickly these communities recover from catastrophic disturbance and to determine what processes influence their resilience. The project focuses on both the structure (species diversity) and function (trait diversity) of the communities. The investigators will examine vents on an active segment of the East Pacific Rise where eruptive disturbance occurs on decadal time scales. These activities will create an unprecedented long-term (>14-year) quantitative time-series of colonist species composition and function. The application of trait-based analysis to the question of biological succession at vents has the potential to change the way we think about resilience in other patchy, transient and regionally-connected ecosystems. By considering how traits change over time, the researchers can untangle which species-level characteristics most influence abundance and distribution. The project objectives have broad significance with the growing potential for human-caused disturbances at deep-sea vents through deep-sea mining. Additional impacts include strengthening participation of under-represented minorities in marine science and contributing to international database development for functional traits of deep-sea vent species. The unique, chemosynthesis-fueled fauna inhabiting deep-sea hydrothermal vents are subject to tectonic and eruptive disturbance that can eradicate entire communities. The main objectives of this project are to quantify how quickly these communities recover from catastrophic disturbance and to determine what processes influence their resilience. The focus is on vents on an active segment of the East Pacific Rise where eruptive disturbance occurs on decadal time scales. Field data on colonization and larval supply are used to characterize not only species succession but also the trajectory of functional diversity after a recent (2006) eruption. A new, promising approach to the colonization studies comes from incorporating trait-based analysis of functional diversity. Functional trait analysis is increasingly recognized in terrestrial and freshwater systems as a tool to holistically answer ecological questions, but trait analysis has not been often applied to marine systems. By considering how traits of incoming colonists change over time, the investigators can untangle which species-level factors most influence abundance and distribution. This project will create an unprecedented long-term (>14-year) quantitative time-series of colonist species composition and function. It includes multiple vent sites to encompass the full diversity of habitat conditions, and assesses both local processes and regional connectivity through larval supply. Field observations at individual sites contribute to broader questions when placed in the context of metacommunity theory. In this theoretical framework, field data such as this can be used to answer such questions as how the eradication of the vent community at a particular site affects the persistence of the metacommunity overall, and which vent sites contribute most to regional biodiversity. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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