The seafloor is, arguably, one of the most extensive habitats on the planet and it is significantly understudied. It is home to a variety of benthic organisms that spend much, if not all, of their time on the bottom sliding along or ploughing through sediment. Some organisms are deposit-feeders that ingest sediments, absorb their organic content, and excrete faecal strings or pellets; other organisms are burrowers that actively mix sediments vertically. This process by which organisms mix up sediment, is known as bioturbation, and is ecologically important because it influences nutrient recycling and other biogeochemical processes on the seafloor.
Bioturbation has traditionally been studied using time-lapse imagery or vertical tracers (natural or artificial objects on the...Read more