My abstract for The Ocean Sciences Meeting was accepted for the Census of Marine Life (CoML) poster session. The meeting is one, if not the, biggest meetings for ocean scientists and I am honored to be a part of the CoML. The work I will be presenting was part of a taxonomic training award for new investigators (link has my final report in addition to information about the award for those interested) I received from CoML's Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems project (ChEss). My abstract is posted below. If any readers are going to the meeting or in the Orlando area and want to meet up let me know!
Hydrothermal vents are deep-sea ecosystems rich in energy and bacterial primary production. Cnidaria are not abundant in the well-studied Atlantic or Eastern Pacific vent communities. However they dominate some microhabitats on the East-Lau Spreading Center (ELSC). We report on six undescribed species of anemones (including one new genus) and a zoanthid from the ELSC. Three of the species of anemone are only found in areas exposed to hydrothermal flow, and will occasionally colonize the shells of mussels that require exposure to hydrothermal fluid to support their chemoautotrophic symbionts. Two of the other species are only present in areas isolated from direct exposure to hydrothermal fluid and the sixth is occasionally found in both peripheral areas and near to sources of hydrothermal flow. The zoanthid is the first to be reported from a hydrothermal vent and forms dense aggregations on basalt in areas of weak hydrothermal flow. The diversity of Cnidaria in this western Pacific back-arc basin is considered in the context of anemone and zoanthid diversity, distribution and habitat use at hydrothermal vents, methane seeps and whale falls.