Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Closer Look at the Hudson Canyon Shows Why the Canyon is Critical for Fish

03.12.2009
A series of newly discovered pits in the bottom of the Hudson Canyon, 100 miles southeast of New York Harbor, may be a key ingredient for the abundant and diverse marine ecosystem in and around the canyon, according to research by scientists from Rutgers University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Peter Rona, professor of marine science at Rutgers’ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and Vincent Guida, a research fisheries biologist at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, led the cruise which found the pits up to hundreds of feet in diameter and tens of feet deep this summer. Their findings will be presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Dec. 14-18, in San Francisco.

“Finding these pits is new for this area,” Rona said. “They’ve been found in certain other places, such as the Gulf of Mexico. There, they’ve been related to the dissolution of gas hydrates in the sediments below the sea floor.”

When enough gas hydrates – methane gas frozen in ice crystals in muddy sediments beneath the seafloor – have dissolved, the sediments in which they’ve been trapped may collapse, forming pits. Rona suspects that may have happened in the Hudson Canyon. During their cruise on the NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessel Henry B. Bigelow in August, the researchers recovered water samples from the canyon. These samples, still being analyzed by Mary

Scranton, professor of marine science at Stony Brook University, indicated abnormally high levels of methane in water taken from above at least one of those pits.

All this, Guida said, may benefit much of what lives and swims in the water column in the canyon, from bacteria to tilefish.

Methane is a source of energy that certain bacteria use to manufacture carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in order to nourish themselvess. The bacteria, in turn, are consumed by other organisms like clams and worms.

They, in turn, may support the larger animals up the food chain, including golden tilefish, which are the focus of a major fishery, and therefore of Guida’s professional attention. Guida said he found what appear to be the burrows of tilefish in the canyon. Generation of methane may have direct environmental effects, too. It is not only important as a chemical energy source to enable bacteria to nourish themselves at the base of a food chain, but is also a potent greenhouse gas that can contribute to global warming. Net benefits or costs of methane release to the ecosystem depend on rates of production and consumption, which have yet to be measured.

Regional map, showing the Hudson Canyon
Rona and Guida said their work was made possible by the use of a robotic free-swimming underwater vehicle, the Eagle Ray, provided by the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology. The institute is a joint venture of NOAA, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Eagle Ray cruises about 50 meters (165 feet) above the ocean bottom, and automatically conforms its track to the contours of the bottom. Using sonar, the Eagle Ray produces maps of seafloor objects as small as 15 feet. The scientists gave particular credit to Leonardo Macelloni, research assistant professor at the University of Mississippi, who interpreted the sonar data recorded by Eagle Ray.

Contact: Ken Branson
732-932-7084, ext. 633
E-mail: kbranson@ur.rutgers.edu
Contact: Shelley Dawicki
508-495-2378
E-mail: shelley.dawicki@noaa.gov

Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.noaa.gov
http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2009/12/a-closer-look-at-the-20091201

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>