Benthic Ecology

The animal, plant, and microbial residents of the lowest level of a body of water, the benthos, live in close relationship with the sedimentary bottom.  These benthic ecosystem are chemically and physically complex, and play a large role in chemical and nutrient cycling in both coastal and open ocean systems.

Students and researchers across SOEST units explore benthic communities across the planet, to better understand the chemical, physical, and biological processes that shape these unique ecosystems.   Benthic research programs within SOEST involve coral reef ecology and evolution, effects of environmental disturbances on deep-sea community dynamics and recruitment, chemical cycling, burial, bioturbation in the sediments, and the microbial ecology of tube-building animals.