German Christopher R.

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Christopher R.

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  • Preprint
    Near-field iron and carbon chemistry of non-buoyant hydrothermal plume particles, Southern East Pacific Rise 15°S
    ( 2018-01) Hoffman, Colleen L. ; Nicholas, Sarah L. ; Ohnemus, Daniel C. ; Fitzsimmons, Jessica N. ; Sherrell, Robert M. ; German, Christopher R. ; Heller, Maija Iris ; Lee, Jong-mi ; Lam, Phoebe J. ; Toner, Brandy M.
  • Article
    Mid-ocean ridge exploration with an autonomous underwater vehicle
    (Oceanography Society, 2007-12) Yoerger, Dana R. ; Bradley, Albert M. ; Jakuba, Michael V. ; Tivey, Maurice A. ; German, Christopher R. ; Shank, Timothy M. ; Embley, Robert W.
    Human-occupied submersibles, towed vehicles, and tethered remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have traditionally been used to study the deep seafloor. In recent years, however, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have begun to replace these other vehicles for mapping and survey missions. AUVs complement the capabilities of these pre-existing systems, offering superior mapping capabilities, improved logistics, and better utilization of the surface support vessel by allowing other tasks such as submersible operations, ROV work, CTD stations, or multibeam surveys to be performed while the AUV does its work. AUVs are particularly well suited to systematic preplanned surveys using sonars, in situ chemical sensors, and cameras in the rugged deep-sea terrain that has been the focus of numerous scientific expeditions (e.g., those to mid-ocean ridges and ocean margin settings). The Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) is an example of an AUV that has been used for over 20 cruises sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration (OE), and international and private sources. This paper summarizes NOAA OE-sponsored cruises made to date using ABE.
  • Article
    Detection of an unusually large hydrothermal event plume above the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge : NW Indian Ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-05-31) Murton, Bramley J. ; Baker, Edward T. ; Sands, Carla M. ; German, Christopher R.
    About 90% of Earth's volcanism occurs along the global mid-ocean ridge system. Here, sporadic volcanic and tectonic activity is thought to cause cataclysmic release of hydrothermal fluids, forming event plumes. Each plume often contains as much hydrothermal effluent and heat as chronic hydrothermal venting from a typical vent site discharges during a year. To date, only a few event plumes have been detected, and only above intermediate-rate spreading ridges in the Pacific. Here, we report the first evidence for an unusually large event plume that originated from the slow-spreading (3 cm/yr full-rate) Carlsberg Ridge in the NW Indian Ocean. At 70 km long, up to 4540 km3 in volume and with up to 24 × 1016 J of excess heat, this event plume was substantially larger than previous ones and demonstrates that dispersion of hydrothermal heat and biological products from slow spreading ridges may be more significant and effective than hitherto imagined.
  • Article
    A blueprint for an inclusive, global deep-sea ocean decade field program
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-11-25) Howell, Kerry L. ; Hilario, Ana ; Allcock, A. Louise ; Bailey, David ; Baker, Maria C. ; Clark, Malcolm R. ; Colaço, Ana ; Copley, Jonathan T. ; Cordes, Erik E. ; Danovaro, Roberto ; Dissanayake, Awantha ; Escobar Briones, Elva ; Esquete, Patricia ; Gallagher, Austin J. ; Gates, Andrew R. ; Gaudron, Sylvie M. ; German, Christopher R. ; Gjerde, Kristina M. ; Higgs, Nicholas D. ; Le Bris, Nadine ; Levin, Lisa A ; Manea, Elisabetta ; McClain, Craig ; Menot, Lenaick ; Mestre, Mireia ; Metaxas, Anna ; Milligan, Rosanna J. ; Muthumbi, Agnes W. N. ; Narayanaswamy, Bhavani E. ; Ramalho, Sofia P. ; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva ; Robson, Laura M. ; Rogers, Alex D. ; Sellanes, Javier ; Sigwart, Julia D. ; Sink, Kerry ; Snelgrove, Paul V. R. ; Stefanoudis, Paris V. ; Sumida, Paulo Y. ; Taylor, Michelle L. ; Thurber, Andrew R. ; Vieira, Rui P. ; Watanabe, Hiromi K. ; Woodall, Lucy C. ; Xavier, Joana R.
    The ocean plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Earth System and in the provision of vital goods and services. The United Nations (UN) declared 2021–2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Roadmap for the Ocean Decade aims to achieve six critical societal outcomes (SOs) by 2030, through the pursuit of four objectives (Os). It specifically recognizes the scarcity of biological data for deep-sea biomes, and challenges the global scientific community to conduct research to advance understanding of deep-sea ecosystems to inform sustainable management. In this paper, we map four key scientific questions identified by the academic community to the Ocean Decade SOs: (i) What is the diversity of life in the deep ocean? (ii) How are populations and habitats connected? (iii) What is the role of living organisms in ecosystem function and service provision? and (iv) How do species, communities, and ecosystems respond to disturbance? We then consider the design of a global-scale program to address these questions by reviewing key drivers of ecological pattern and process. We recommend using the following criteria to stratify a global survey design: biogeographic region, depth, horizontal distance, substrate type, high and low climate hazard, fished/unfished, near/far from sources of pollution, licensed/protected from industry activities. We consider both spatial and temporal surveys, and emphasize new biological data collection that prioritizes southern and polar latitudes, deeper (> 2000 m) depths, and midwater environments. We provide guidance on observational, experimental, and monitoring needs for different benthic and pelagic ecosystems. We then review recent efforts to standardize biological data and specimen collection and archiving, making “sampling design to knowledge application” recommendations in the context of a new global program. We also review and comment on needs, and recommend actions, to develop capacity in deep-sea research; and the role of inclusivity - from accessing indigenous and local knowledge to the sharing of technologies - as part of such a global program. We discuss the concept of a new global deep-sea biological research program ‘Challenger 150,’ highlighting what it could deliver for the Ocean Decade and UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.
  • Article
    Hydrothermal sediments as a potential record of seawater Nd isotope compositions : the Rainbow vent site (36°14′N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge)
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-09-09) Chavagnac, Valerie ; Palmer, Martin R. ; Milton, J. Andrew ; Green, Darryl R. H. ; German, Christopher R.
    Geochemical compositions and Sr and Nd isotopes were measured in two cores collected ~2 and 5 km from the Rainbow hydrothermal vent site on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Overall, the cores record enrichments in Fe and other metals from hydrothermal fallout, but sequential dissolution of the sediments allows discrimination between a leach phase (easily leachable) and a residue phase (refractory). The oxy-anion and transition metal distribution combined with rare earth element (REE) patterns suggest that 1) the leach fraction is a mixture of biogenic carbonate and hydrothermal Fe-Mn oxy-hydroxide with no significant contribution from detrital material, and 2) >99.5% of the REE content of the leach fraction is of seawater origin. In addition, the leach fraction has an average 87Sr/86Sr ratio indistinguishable from modern seawater at 0.70916. Although we lack the εNd value of present day deep water at the Rainbow vent site, we believe that the REE budget of the leach fraction is predominantly of seawater origin. We suggest, therefore, that the leach fraction provides a record of local seawater εNd values. Nd isotope data from these cores span the period of 4-14 ka (14C ages) and yield εNd values for North East Atlantic Deep Water (NEADW) that are higher (-9.3 to -11.1) than those observed in the nearby Madeira Abyssal Plain from the same depth (-12.4 ± 0.9). This observation suggests that either the Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) and Lower Deep Water (LDW) contributions to the formation of NEADW are higher along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge than in the surrounding basins, or that the relative proportion of ISOW was higher during this period than is observed today. This study indicates that hydrothermal sediments have the potential to provide a higher resolution record of deep water εNd values, and hence deep-water circulation patterns in the oceans, than is possible from other types of sediments.
  • Article
    A reduced crustal magnetization zone near the first observed active hydrothermal vent field on the Southwest Indian Ridge
    (American Geophysical Union, 2010-09-21) Zhu, Jian ; Lin, Jian ; Chen, Yongshun J. ; Tao, Chunhui ; German, Christopher R. ; Yoerger, Dana R. ; Tivey, Maurice A.
    Inversion of near-bottom magnetic data reveals a well-defined low crustal magnetization zone (LMZ) near a local topographic high (37°47′S, 49°39′E) on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). The magnetic data were collected by the autonomous underwater vehicle ABE on board R/V DaYangYiHao in February-March 2007. The first active hydrothermal vent field observed on the SWIR is located in Area A within and adjacent to the LMZ at the local topographic high, implying that this LMZ may be the result of hydrothermal alteration of magnetic minerals. The maximum reduction in crustal magnetization is 3 A/M. The spatial extent of the LMZ is estimated to be at least 6.7 × 104 m2, which is larger than that of the LMZs at the TAG vent field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR), as well as the Relict Field, Bastille, Dante-Grotto, and New Field vent-sites on the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdF). The calculated magnetic moment, i.e., the product of the spatial extent and amplitude of crustal magnetization reduction is at least −3 × 107 Am2 for the LMZ on the SWIR, while that for the TAG field on the MAR is −8 × 107 Am2 and that for the four individual vent fields on the JdF range from −5 × 107 to −3 × 107 Am2. Together these results indicate that crustal demagnetization is a common feature of basalt-hosted hydrothermal vent fields at mid-ocean ridges of all spreading rates. Furthermore, the crustal demagnetization of the Area A on the ultraslow-spreading SWIR is comparable in strength to that of the TAG area on the slow-spreading MAR.
  • Article
    Deep, diverse and definitely different : unique attributes of the world's largest ecosystem
    (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2010-09-22) Ramirez-Llodra, Eva ; Brandt, A. ; Danovaro, Roberto ; De Mol, B. ; Escobar Briones, Elva ; German, Christopher R. ; Levin, Lisa A. ; Arbizu, P. Martinez ; Menot, Lenaick ; Buhl-Mortensen, P. ; Narayanaswamy, Bhavani E. ; Smith, Craig R. ; Tittensor, D. P. ; Tyler, Paul A. ; Vanreusel, A. ; Vecchione, M.
    The deep sea, the largest biome on Earth, has a series of characteristics that make this environment both distinct from other marine and land ecosystems and unique for the entire planet. This review describes these patterns and processes, from geological settings to biological processes, biodiversity and biogeographical patterns. It concludes with a brief discussion of current threats from anthropogenic activities to deep-sea habitats and their fauna. Investigations of deep-sea habitats and their fauna began in the late 19th century. In the intervening years, technological developments and stimulating discoveries have promoted deep-sea research and changed our way of understanding life on the planet. Nevertheless, the deep sea is still mostly unknown and current discovery rates of both habitats and species remain high. The geological, physical and geochemical settings of the deep-sea floor and the water column form a series of different habitats with unique characteristics that support specific faunal communities. Since 1840, 28 new habitats/ecosystems have been discovered from the shelf break to the deep trenches and discoveries of new habitats are still happening in the early 21st century. However, for most of these habitats the global area covered is unknown or has been only very roughly estimated; an even smaller – indeed, minimal – proportion has actually been sampled and investigated. We currently perceive most of the deep-sea ecosystems as heterotrophic, depending ultimately on the flux on organic matter produced in the overlying surface ocean through photosynthesis. The resulting strong food limitation thus shapes deep-sea biota and communities, with exceptions only in reducing ecosystems such as inter alia hydrothermal vents or cold seeps. Here, chemoautolithotrophic bacteria play the role of primary producers fuelled by chemical energy sources rather than sunlight. Other ecosystems, such as seamounts, canyons or cold-water corals have an increased productivity through specific physical processes, such as topographic modification of currents and enhanced transport of particles and detrital matter. Because of its unique abiotic attributes, the deep sea hosts a specialized fauna. Although there are no phyla unique to deep waters, at lower taxonomic levels the composition of the fauna is distinct from that found in the upper ocean. Amongst other characteristic patterns, deep-sea species may exhibit either gigantism or dwarfism, related to the decrease in food availability with depth. Food limitation on the seafloor and water column is also reflected in the trophic structure of heterotrophic deep-sea communities, which are adapted to low energy availability. In most of these heterotrophic habitats, the dominant megafauna is composed of detritivores, while filter feeders are abundant in habitats with hard substrata (e.g. mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, canyon walls and coral reefs). Chemoautotrophy through symbiotic relationships is dominant in reducing habitats. Deep-sea biodiversity is among of the highest on the planet, mainly composed of macro and meiofauna, with high evenness. This is true for most of the continental margins and abyssal plains with hot spots of diversity such as seamounts or cold-water corals. However, in some ecosystems with particularly "extreme" physicochemical processes (e.g. hydrothermal vents), biodiversity is low but abundance and biomass are high and the communities are dominated by a few species. Two large-scale diversity patterns have been discussed for deep-sea benthic communities. First, a unimodal relationship between diversity and depth is observed, with a peak at intermediate depths (2000–3000 m), although this is not universal and particular abiotic processes can modify the trend. Secondly, a poleward trend of decreasing diversity has been discussed, but this remains controversial and studies with larger and more robust data sets are needed. Because of the paucity in our knowledge of habitat coverage and species composition, biogeographic studies are mostly based on regional data or on specific taxonomic groups. Recently, global biogeographic provinces for the pelagic and benthic deep ocean have been described, using environmental and, where data were available, taxonomic information. This classification described 30 pelagic provinces and 38 benthic provinces divided into 4 depth ranges, as well as 10 hydrothermal vent provinces. One of the major issues faced by deep-sea biodiversity and biogeographical studies is related to the high number of species new to science that are collected regularly, together with the slow description rates for these new species. Taxonomic coordination at the global scale is particularly difficult, but is essential if we are to analyse large diversity and biogeographic trends. Because of their remoteness, anthropogenic impacts on deep-sea ecosystems have not been addressed very thoroughly until recently. The depletion of biological and mineral resources on land and in shallow waters, coupled with technological developments, are promoting the increased interest in services provided by deep-water resources. Although often largely unknown, evidence for the effects of human activities in deep-water ecosystems – such as deep-sea mining, hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, fishing, dumping and littering – is already accumulating. Because of our limited knowledge of deep-sea biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and because of the specific life-history adaptations of many deep-sea species (e.g. slow growth and delayed maturity), it is essential that the scientific community works closely with industry, conservation organisations and policy makers to develop robust and efficient conservation and management options.
  • Preprint
    Diverse styles of submarine venting on the ultraslow spreading Mid-Cayman Rise
    ( 2010-06-24) German, Christopher R. ; Bowen, Andrew D. ; Coleman, Max ; Honig, D. L. ; Huber, Julie A. ; Jakuba, Michael V. ; Kinsey, James C. ; Kurz, Mark D. ; Leroy, S. ; McDermott, Jill M. ; Mercier de Lepinay, B. ; Nakamura, Ko-ichi ; Seewald, Jeffrey S. ; Smith, J. L. ; Sylva, Sean P. ; Van Dover, Cindy L. ; Whitcomb, Louis L. ; Yoerger, Dana R.
    Thirty years after the first discovery of high-temperature submarine venting, the vast majority of the global Mid Ocean Ridge remains unexplored for hydrothermal activity. Of particular interest are the world’s ultra-slow spreading ridges which were the last to be demonstrated to host high-temperature venting, but may host systems particularly relevant to pre-biotic chemistry and the origins of life. Here we report first evidence for diverse and very deep hydrothermal vents along the ~110 km long, ultra-slow spreading Mid-Cayman Rise. Our data indicate that the Mid- Cayman Rise hosts at least three discrete hydrothermal sites, each representing a different type of water-rock interaction, including both mafic and ultra-mafic systems and, at ~5000 m, the deepest known hydrothermal vent. Although submarine hydrothermal circulation, in which seawater percolates through and reacts with host lithologies, occurs on all mid-ocean ridges, the diversity of vent-types identified here and their relative geographic isolation make the Mid-Cayman Rise unique in the oceans. These new sites offer prospects for: an expanded range of vent-fluid compositions; varieties of abiotic organic chemical synthesis and extremophile microorganisms; and unparalleled faunal biodiversity - all in close proximity.
  • Article
    Hydrothermal plume detection dataset from Chinese cruises to the equatorial East Pacific Rise
    (Elsevier, 2020-11-20) Chen, Sheng ; Tao, Chunhui ; German, Christopher R.
    In this data article, a dataset from hydrothermal plume investigations on East Pacific Rise collected during Chinese cruises from 2008 to 2011 is reported. The dataset is related to the research article entitled “Abundance of low-temperature axial venting at the equatorial East Pacific Rise” published in the journal Deep-Sea Research I by Chen et al. (2020). In the dataset, continuous strings of time-series sensor data were obtained by Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorders (MAPR) and an Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) sensor, while the underwater position data was derived using Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) navigation. In this contribution, general characteristics of the data are summarized and showed here. All the data are stored in separate Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that are available for researchers and a link is provided to the full data at The data will be of comparative value to those investigating hydrothermal activities along mid-ocean ridges, worldwide.
  • Article
    Hydrothermal activity and seismicity at teahitia seamount: Reactivation of the society islands hotspot?
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-02-21) German, Christopher R. ; Resing, Joseph A. ; Xu, Guangyu ; Yeo, Isobel A. ; Walker, Sharon L. ; Devey, Colin W. ; Moffett, James W. ; Cutter, Gregory A. ; Hyvernaud, Olivier ; Reymond, Dominique
    Along mid-ocean ridges, submarine venting has been found at all spreading rates and in every ocean basin. By contrast, intraplate hydrothermal activity has only been reported from five locations, worldwide. Here we extend the time series at one of those sites, Teahitia Seamount, which was first shown to be hydrothermally active in 1983 but had not been revisited since 1999. Previously, submersible investigations had led to the discovery of low-temperature (≤30°C) venting associated with the summit of Teahitia Seamount at ≤1500 m. In December 2013 we returned to the same site at the culmination of the US GEOTRACES Eastern South Tropical Pacific (GP16) transect and found evidence for ongoing venting in the form of a non-buoyant hydrothermal plume at a depth of 1400 m. Multi-beam mapping revealed the same composite volcano morphology described previously for Teahitia including four prominent cones. The plume overlying the summit showed distinct in situ optical backscatter and redox anomalies, coupled with high concentrations of total dissolvable Fe (≤186 nmol/L) and Mn (≤33 nmol/L) that are all diagnostic of venting at the underlying seafloor. Continuous seismic records from 1986-present reveal a ∼15 year period of quiescence at Teahitia, following the seismic crisis that first stimulated its submersible-led investigation. Since 2007, however, the frequency of seismicity at Teahitia, coupled with the low magnitude of those events, are suggestive of magmatic reactivation. Separately, distinct seismicity at the adjacent Rocard seamount has also been attributed to submarine extrusive volcanism in 2011 and in 2013. Theoretical modeling of the hydrothermal plume signals detected suggest a minimum heat flux of 10 MW at the summit of Teahitia. Those model simulations can only be sourced from an area of low-temperature venting such as that originally reported from Teahitia if the temperature of the fluids exiting the seabed has increased significantly, from ≤30°C to ∼70°C. These model seafloor temperatures and our direct plume observations are both consistent with reports from Loihi Seamount, Hawaii, ∼10 year following an episode of seafloor volcanism. We hypothesize that the Society Islands hotspot may be undergoing a similar episode of both magmatic and hydrothermal reactivation.
  • Preprint
    Axial morphology along the Southern Chile Rise
    ( 2012-06) Blackman, Donna K. ; Appelgate, B. ; German, Christopher R. ; Thurber, Andrew R. ; Henig, A. S.
    Morphology of four spreading segments on the southern Chile Rise is described based on multi-beam bathymetric data collected along the axial zones. The distribution of axial volcanoes, the character of rift valley scarps, and the average depths vary between Segment 1 in the south, terminating at the Chile Triple Junction, and Segment 4 in the north, which are separated by three intervening transform faults. Despite this general variability, there is a consistent pattern of clockwise rotation of the southern-most axial volcanic ridge within each of Segments 2, 3, and 4, relative to the overall trend of the rift valley. A combination of local ridge-transform intersection stresses and regional tectonics may influence spreading axis evolution in this sense.
  • Article
    Hydrothermal exploration of the Fonualei Rift and Spreading Center and the Northeast Lau Spreading Center
    (American Geophysical Union, 2006-11-29) German, Christopher R. ; Resing, Joseph A. ; Prien, R. D. ; Walker, Sharon L. ; Edmonds, Henrietta N. ; Langmuir, Charles H.
    We report evidence for active hydrothermal venting along two back-arc spreading centers of the NE Lau Basin: the Fonualei Rift and Spreading Center (FRSC) and the Northeast Lau Spreading Center (NELSC). The ridge segments investigated here are of particular interest as the potential source of a mid-water hydrothermal plume (1500–2000 m depth) which extends more than 2000 km across the SW Pacific Ocean dispersing away from an apparent origin close to the most northeastern limits of the Lau Basin. Our results indicate the presence of at least four new hydrothermal plume sources, three along the FRSC and one on the NELSC, the latter situated within 150 km of the maximum for the previously identified SW Pacific regional-scale plume. However, TDFe and TDMn concentrations in the southernmost FRSC plume that we have identified only reach values of 19 and 13 nmol/L and dissolved 3He anomalies in the same plume are also small, both in relation to the SW Pacific plume and to local background, which shows evidence for extensive 3He enrichment throughout the entire Lau Basin water column. Our results reveal no evidence for a single major point hydrothermal source anywhere in the NE Lau Basin. Instead, we conclude that the regional-scale SW Pacific hydrothermal plume most probably results from the cumulative hydrothermal output of the entire topographically restricted Lau Basin, discharging via its NE-most corner.
  • Article
    Mineral phase analysis of deep-sea hydrothermal particulates by a Raman spectroscopy expert algorithm : toward autonomous in situ experimentation and exploration
    (American Geophysical Union, 2009-05-14) Breier, John A. ; German, Christopher R. ; White, Sheri N.
    This paper demonstrates that a Raman spectroscopy, point-counting technique can be used for phase analysis of minerals commonly found in deep-sea hydrothermal plumes, even for minerals with similar chemical compositions. It also presents our robust autonomous identification algorithm and spectral database, both of which were developed specifically for deep-sea hydrothermal studies. The Raman spectroscopy expert algorithm was developed and tested against multicomponent mixtures of minerals relevant to the deep-sea hydrothermal environment. It is intended for autonomous classification where many spectra must be examined with little or no human involvement to increase analytic precision, accuracy, and data volume or to enable in situ measurements and experimentation.
  • Preprint
    Iron persistence in a distal hydrothermal plume supported by dissolved–particulate exchange
    ( 2017-01) Fitzsimmons, Jessica N. ; John, Seth G. ; Marsay, Christopher M. ; Hoffman, Colleen L. ; Nicholas, Sarah L. ; Toner, Brandy M. ; German, Christopher R. ; Sherrell, Robert M.
    Hydrothermally-sourced dissolved metals have been recorded in all ocean basins. In the oceans’ largest known hydrothermal plume, extending westward across the Pacific from the Southern East Pacific Rise, dissolved iron and manganese were shown by the GEOTRACES program to be transported halfway across the Pacific. Here, we report that particulate iron and manganese in the same plume also exceed background concentrations, even 4000 km from the source. Both dissolved and particulate iron deepen by more than 350 m relative to 3He – a non-reactive tracer of hydrothermal input – crossing isopycnals. Manganese shows no similar descent. Individual plume particle analyses indicate that particulate iron occurs within low-density organic matrices, consistent with its slow sinking rate of 5-10 m year-1. Chemical speciation and isotopic composition analyses reveal that particulate iron consists of Fe(III) oxyhydroxides, while dissolved iron consists of nanoparticulate Fe(III) oxyhydroxides and an organically-complexed iron phase. The descent of plume dissolved iron is best explained by reversible exchange onto slowly sinking particles, likely mediated by organic compounds binding iron. We suggest that in ocean regimes with high particulate iron loadings, dissolved iron fluxes may depend on the balance between stabilization in the dissolved phase and the reversibility of exchange onto sinking particles.
  • Preprint
    Surface-generated mesoscale eddies transport deep-sea products from hydrothermal vents
    ( 2011-03) Adams, Diane K. ; McGillicuddy, Dennis J. ; Zamudio, Luis ; Thurnherr, Andreas M. ; Liang, Xinfeng ; Rouxel, Olivier J. ; German, Christopher R. ; Mullineaux, Lauren S.
    Atmospheric forcing, which is known to have a strong influence on surface ocean dynamics and production, is typically not considered in studies of the deep sea. Our observations and models demonstrate an unexpected influence of surface-generated mesoscale eddies in the transport of hydrothermal vent efflux and of vent larvae away from the northern East Pacific Rise. Transport by these deep-reaching eddies provides a mechanism for spreading the hydrothermal chemical and heat-flux into the deep-ocean interior and for dispersing propagules hundreds of kilometers between isolated and ephemeral communities. Since the eddies interacting with the East Pacific Rise are formed seasonally and are sensitive to phenomena such as El Niño, they have the potential to introduce seasonal to interannual atmospheric variations into the deep sea.
  • Article
    Abiotic redox reactions in hydrothermal mixing zones: decreased energy availability for the subsurface biosphere
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-08-12) McDermott, Jill M. ; Sylva, Sean P. ; Ono, Shuhei ; German, Christopher R. ; Seewald, Jeffrey S.
    Subseafloor mixing of high-temperature hot-spring fluids with cold seawater creates intermediate-temperature diffuse fluids that are replete with potential chemical energy. This energy can be harnessed by a chemosynthetic biosphere that permeates hydrothermal regions on Earth. Shifts in the abundance of redox-reactive species in diffuse fluids are often interpreted to reflect the direct influence of subseafloor microbial activity on fluid geochemical budgets. Here, we examine hydrothermal fluids venting at 44 to 149 °C at the Piccard hydrothermal field that span the canonical 122 °C limit to life, and thus provide a rare opportunity to study the transition between habitable and uninhabitable environments. In contrast with previous studies, we show that hydrocarbons are contributed by biomass pyrolysis, while abiotic sulfate (SO42−) reduction produces large depletions in H2. The latter process consumes energy that could otherwise support key metabolic strategies employed by the subseafloor biosphere. Available Gibbs free energy is reduced by 71 to 86% across the habitable temperature range for both hydrogenotrophic SO42− reduction to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction to methane (CH4). The abiotic H2 sink we identify has implications for the productivity of subseafloor microbial ecosystems and is an important process to consider within models of H2 production and consumption in young oceanic crust.
  • Dataset
    ODF CTD down casts along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013 (U.S. GEOTRACES EPZT project)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact:, 2020-04-16) Moffett, James W. ; Cutter, Gregory ; German, Christopher R.
    ODF CTD down casts along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at:
  • Dataset
    Concentrations of dissolved argon, krypton, and xenon from Niskin bottle samples collected on Leg 2 (Hilo, HI to Papeete, French Polynesia) of the US GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect (PMT) cruise (GP15, RR1815) on R/V Roger Revelle from Oct-Nov 2018
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact:, 2022-08-10) Jenkins, William J. ; German, Christopher R.
    This dataset includes concentrations of dissolved argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), and xenon (Xe) from Niskin bottle samples collected on Leg 2 (Hilo, HI to Papeete, French Polynesia) of the US GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect (PMT) cruise (GP15, RR1815) on R/V Roger Revelle from October to November 2018. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at:
  • Dataset
    CFC saturation along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013 (U.S. GEOTRACES EPZT project)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact:, 2020-04-16) Moffett, James W. ; Cutter, Gregory ; German, Christopher R.
    CFC saturation along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at:
  • Dataset
    GTC CTD down casts along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013 (U.S. GEOTRACES EPZT project)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact:, 2020-04-16) Moffett, James W. ; Cutter, Gregory ; German, Christopher R.
    GTC CTD down casts along the US GEOTRACES East Pacific Zonal Transect from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson TN303 cruise in the tropical Pacific from Peru to Tahiti during 2013. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: