Deep Seafloor Life in the Water Column

Mini submarine being lowered into ocean

Thursday, May 20, 2021
4:30 p.m. PDT




Check out this video to watch the Deep Seafloor Life in the Water Column.

Huxley Speaker Series

Brought to you in partnership with Huxley College of the Environment and the WWU Alumni Association

Visually striking animal communities cluster around deep-sea cold seeps and hydrothermal vents. These animals don’t spend all of their lives on the seafloor, though. Instead, they spend a portion of their lives as tiny larvae making their living in the overlying water column. Dispersal of these larvae among vent and seep sites is critical for population maintenance, colonization of new sites, and recolonization of disturbed sites. Thus, reliable predictions of larval dispersal patterns are central to guiding conservation efforts and understanding large-scale biogeographic ranges of these species. Bio-physical models of larval dispersal require data on biological parameters such as spawning times and locations, larval duration, vertical distribution in the water column, and swimming behavior. Nevertheless, fully understanding these parameters is difficult even in shallow-water animals. Whether larvae of deep-sea animals make long vertical migrations to the sea surface and or remain near their seafloor homes will have profound effects on their dispersal, population connectivity, and biogeography, yet the extent and timing of their vertical movements remain unknown for all deep-sea larvae.

This seminar will explore what we know about the movements and migrations of deep-sea, cold-seep and hydrothermal-vent larvae and describe how we are using modern technologies to collect data on larval biology and behaviors in order to produce the first deep-sea larval dispersal models that are informed by real biological data.

More information about the speaker series is available here

Shawn Arellano

Shawn Arellano


Shawn Arellano is a marine ecologist, broadly interested in the ecology of marine invertebrates and focused on the ecology of early life-history stages. Her research primarily focuses on the behavioral and developmental mechanisms that affect larval dispersal and successful recruitment of invertebrates, including reproduction, larval swimming behavior, larval development and physiology, invertebrate and microbial interactions, settlement dynamics, and metamorphosis.

Learn more about Shawn.

Questions and Accommodations

Stefan Freelan is the coordinator of the Huxley Speaker Series. Feel free to email or call (360) 650-2949 if you have any questions or comments.

There will be auto-captions available for this event. To request closed captions, please mark the request on the registration form. Advance notice of three days to one week is appreciated.