An unusual SONAR data plot was generated from COVIS (Cabled Observatory Vent Imaging Sonar) data on 20 May 2014, as the remotely operated vehicle ROPOS flew above Grotto hydrothermal vent in Main Endeavour Field (depth: 2195 m).
Ocean Networks Canada is looking to expand its current observatories in the northeast Pacific by installing a node module at a sixth site, which already possesses much of the required infrastructure. This site, located at the Middle Valley on the Juan de Fuca ridge, was originally...
The Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge is home to one of the deepest (2200 – 2400 m) collections of experiments in the NEPTUNE Observatory. This deep-sea mountain ridge is located approximately 300 km off the British Columbian coast along the spreading crustal boundary between the Juan de Fuca and Pacific tectonic plates. The Endeavour site presents an elaborate network of seafloor structures where active hydro-geothermal venting creates highly variable local temperatures throughout the system. Due to its dynamic characteristics, Endeavour offers a rare opportunity to study globally significant chemical, biological and geological processes unique to these otherworldly deep-sea environments.
Life is usually thought to be driven by energy from the sun. The deep ocean is devoid of sunlight, yet life persists. While most of the abyss relies on photosynthetic surface productivity, hydrothermal vent communities use a different energy pathway, relying on a process called chemosynthesis. Specialized chemoautotrophic bacteria oxidize inorganic molecules contained in hydrothermal vent effluent and use the released energy to produce organic matter (carbohydrates) from dissolved CO2.
This story is the fifth of a six part special series on the "Health of the Ocean." The paper’s online publication has also compiled a photo gallery of this unique ecosystem located 250 km off Vancouver Island and over two km below the ocean’s surface.