Benthic Oceanography

Benthic oceanography is the study of environmental processes at, just below and just above the interface between the seabed and its overlying water. In this suite of environments, gradients in physical, chemical, biological and geological properties are steep and often interact strongly, so studies characteristically are highly interdisciplinary. They range from very fundamental to quite applied. Many pollutants that have caused problems in marine settings are hydrophobic and tend to adsorb onto suspended particles, eventually depositing on or into the seabed, so it is important to understand the linked dynamics of adsorption, deposition and exposure of biota. Another of the many interesting and important applied benthic problems is that of anthropogenic sediment disturbance through trawling. Basic science questions range from the factors controlling community structure to the physical and chemical consequences of burrowing and digestion by animals that eat sediments.

Participating Faculty