The Deep Ocean

What are the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of deep and ultra-deep waters of the eastern South Pacific, and which of those determine the diversity and functional structure of their pelagic communities?

In spite of the inexperience and logistical challenges in deep-sea oceanography, initiating the exploration and studying of the deep and ultra deep waters of the South Pacific proved to be extremely rewarding, and constitute one of the most promising research goals for the next phase. As for Research Theme I, the first period showed us the need to more effectively integrate the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the study of the deep ocean. Theme II will be organized around a single grand question: What are the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of deep and ultra-deep waters of the eastern South Pacific, and which of those determine the diversity and functional structure of their pelagic communities?
To address this question, we will analyze hydrographic data and chemical and biological samples collected during our recent expeditions, as well as those resulting from the new initiatives planned for the second period. In particular, we will work on new and past
hydrographic data (T, S, O2, nutrients), as well as on new data on carbonate chemistry, inorganic radiocarbon (Δ14C), and the stable isotopic composition (δ13C, δ15N) of particulate water-column matter. Moreover, we will continue investigating the abundance, diversity, and metabolic or trophic potential of their planktonic (microorganisms and zooplankton) communities, combining traditional techniques with modern molecular and genomic approaches. Tackling this main question in depth will require new technologies, for example in situ
pumps or incubation systems that can work at extremely high pressure and are not available in the market, and undersea robotic samplers and vehicles (ROVs and AUVs). For this, we will team local engineers with collaborators from abroad to work on the design and implementation of such new technologies. The investigation of the deep sea is heavily dependent on technology. Chile has previously had little or no expertise in marine technology appropriate for deep-sea exploration, making Chile dependent on foreign expertise. This has recently started to change. Dr. Giancarlo Troni, an Assistant Professor contracted by the PUC School of Engineering in 2016, has accepted our invitation to join the Deep Sea team. Dr. Troni is an expert in marine robotics and underwater vehicle navigation with PhD from Johns Hopkins and postdoctoral experience at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research (MBARI, a world leader in the field). His research will generate “invented in Chile” and “made in Chile” innovations in marine technology generally, specifically essential for making the deep ocean accessible for Chilean scientists.



Meet our researchers


Relative importance of predatory versus non-predatory mortality for dominant copepod species in the northern Chilean (23°S) Humboldt Current System

Marine Ecology Progress Series | Volume 630, Pages 13-23

doi:10.3354/meps13130November, 2019

Yañez, S.Hidalgo, P.Tang, K.W

Community structured production of zooplankton in the eastern boundary upwelling system off central/southern Chile (2003–2012)

ICES Journal of Marine Science | Pages 1-17

doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsz193November, 2019

Two new species of Acanthocotyle Monticelli, 1888 (Monogenea: Acanthocotylidae), parasites of two deep-sea skates (Elasmobranchii: Rajiformes) in the South-East Pacific

Parasites & Vectors | Pages 1-13

doi:10.1186/s13071-019-3756-5October, 2019

Synoptic-scale variability of surface winds and ocean response to atmospheric forcing in the eastern austral Pacific Ocean, Ocean

Ocean Science | Volume 15, Pages 1247-1266

doi:10.5194/os-15-1247-2019September, 2019

Pérez-Santos, I.Seguel, R.Schneider, W.Linford, P.Donoso, D.Navarro, E.Amaya-Cárcamo, C.Pinilla, E.Daneri, G.

Nitrogen assimilation in picocyanobacteria inhabiting the oxygen‐deficient waters of the eastern tropical North and South Pacific

Limnology and Oceanography | Pages 1-17

doi:10.1002/lno.11315September, 2019

Aldunate, M.Henríquez, C.Ji, Q.Lueders-Dumont, J.Mulholland, M.R.B. Ward, B.Von Dassow, P.Ulloa, O.

Impacts of reduced inorganic N:P ratio on three distinct plankton communities in the Humboldt upwelling system

Marine Biology | Volume 166, Pages 1-17

doi:10.1007/s00227-019-3561-xSeptember, 2019

Spilling, K.Camarena-Gómez, M-TLipsewers, T.Martínez-Varela, A.Díaz-Rosas, F.Von Dassow, P....,

Global perspectives on observing ocean boundary current systems

Frontiers in Marine Science | Volume 6, Article 423

doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00423August, 2019

Todd, R.EChavez, F.PClayton, S.Cravatte, S. Goes, M...., Escribano, R...., Zhang, L.

Subsurface Mesoscale Eddy Generation in the Ocean off Central Chile

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Volume 124, Pages 5700-5722

doi:10.1029/2018JC014723August, 2019

, Contreras, M.Pizarro, O.Dewitte, B.H. Sepúlveda, H. Renault, L.

The impact of spring-neap tidal-stream cycles in tidal energy assessments in the Chilean Inland Sea

Renewable Energy | Volume 139, Pages 496-506

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2019.02.092August, 2019

Artal, O.Pizarro, O.H.Sepúlveda, H.

The glass half-empty: climate change drives lower freshwater input in the coastal system of the Chilean Northern Patagonia

Climatic Change | Volume 155, Pages 417-435

doi:10.1007/s10584-019-02495-6August, 2019

Aguayo, R.León-Muñoz, J.Vargas-Baecheler, J.Montecinos, A.Garreaud, R.Urbina, M....,

Towards integrating evolution, metabolism, and climate change studies of marine ecosystems

Trends in Ecology & Evolution

doi:10.1016/j.tree.2019.07.003July, 2019

Baltar, F.Bayer, B.Bednarsek, N.Deppeter, S.Escribano, R.González, C.E...., Herndl, G.J

Monitoring Microbial Communities in the Marine Environment

Cytometry Part A | Volume 95, Pages 717-721

doi:10.1002/cyto.a.23763July, 2019

Understanding Sea Level Change in the South Pacific During the Late 20th Century and Early 21st Century

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Volume 124, Pages 3849-3858

doi:10.1029/2018JC014828June, 2019

Albrecht, F.Pizarro, O.Montecinos, A.Zhang, X.

Identification assisted by molecular markers of larval parasites in two limpet species (Patellogastropoda: Nacella) inhabiting Antarctic and Magellan coastal systems

Polar Biology | Volume 42, Issue 6, Pages 1175-1182

doi:10.1007/s00300-019-02511-6June, 2019

Flores, K.López, Z.Levicoy, D.Muñoz-Ramírez, C.PGonzález-Wevar, C.Oliva, M.E.Cárdenas, L.

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