Exploring interactions among the physical, chemical, microbial and faunal components of marine ecosystems are the unifying research themes of the Juniper lab. Deep-sea hydrothermal vents have long been a major focus but we maintain an interest in other benthic communities and occasionally make forays up into the water column where there is chlorophyll and light. Most work is basic research in areas such as food webs, microbial ecology and physico-chemical controls on benthic faunal distribution. An increasing human presence in the deep-sea and climate change are obliging us to apply our knowledge to understanding societal impacts on offshore benthos, even at hydrothermal vents. Projects combine field sampling with laboratory tools such as stable isotope analysis, molecular phylogenetic identification of eubacterial and archaeal communities, and seafloor image analysis and habitat mapping. The geographic footprint is as wide ranging as the projects, with field work in the South Tonga and Mariana island arcs, as well as regular trips closer to home, including Saanich Inlet, the Vancouver Island shelf and slope, and hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Upcoming research will use cameras and instruments connected to the VENUS and NEPTUNE cabled observatories, and continue to make use of the ROPOS remotely-operated submersible for sampling and underwater imagery.
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