Homer I: Hotspot microbial ecosystem research in the Eastern Mediterranean: Fluid flow, transport processes and community structure at cold seeps - Cruise No. MSM13/3 - October 25-November 18, 2009 - Limassol (Cyprus)-Limassol (Cyprus) (English)

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The cruise leg MSM13/3 investigated chemosynthetic ecosystems of the deep Eastern Mediterranean. At fluid escape structures in water depths of 1000- 2000 m energy rich chemical substances such as sulphur and hydrocarbon compounds are available to fuel rich and abundant microbial life and diverse chemosynthetic ecosystems. The main objectives of leg MSM13/3 were 1) to obtain a quantitative insight in element cycling and export at different types of fluid seeps in the Eastern Mediterranean and 2) to understand the relation and interaction between fluid seepage and seep biodiversity and community distribution. Another special type of chemosynthetic ecosystem investigated during MSM 13/3 were large wood falls, which had been deployed 3 and 2 years ago, and which were now resampled to get a better understanding of temporal succession of wood degrading communities. The main technology used for these objectives were the ROV QUEST4000 (MARUM) with its diverse payloads operated by the MPI Bremen, allowing targeted, coupled videographic, biogeochemical and ecological investigations,as well as the online heat flux corer of IFM Geomar. We used these tools in a combination to quantify physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes in chemosynthetic ecosystems, and to study the link between the deep-water geosphere and biosphere in the Eastern Mediterranean. The expedition contributed to the ECs 7th FP HERMIONE, the GDRE DIWOOD and ESF EUROCORES project CHEMECO, as well as to the goals of the research centre MARUM (Geosphere- Biosphere Research).