InterRidge Theoretical Institute ‘Biogeochemical interaction at deep-sea vents’

09/10/2007 00:00
09/14/2007 13:00

IRTI 2007 Workshop Report (PDF, 614KB)


Working Group Participants



The goal of this Theoretical Institute was to encourage multidisciplinary convergence in the study of interactions occurring at deep-sea vent sites between the biological and chemical components of the environment, and to increase collaborative efforts to develop new techniques for making key measurements to achieve this goal. The InterRidge Theoretical Institute was held at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was comprised of two parts: 2 days of Short Courses and Advanced Lectures; and 3 days of Workshops.

Short Courses and Advanced Lectures

This InterRidge Theoretical Institute will first include 2-days short courses and advanced lectures directed to a multidisciplinary audience. A series of invited lectures and short courses will present the state of the art to an anticipated group of 80 to 100 scientists from a range of backgrounds. Short course and lecture topics will range from consideration of environmental conditions (e.g., the chemical background as defined by vent fluid geochemistry, reactive transport modelling and direct in situ measurements) to appreciation of constraints on energy transfer from chemical to biological systems (e.g. considering thermodynamic constraints, microbial carbon-fixation pathways, symbiotic associations) and acknowledgment of their role in vent ecosystem dynamics (e.g., influence on colonization processes and biological succession). Participants will gain an understanding of the links that occur at vent sites among key geological, physical, chemical, and biological processes through the biogeochemical cycling of elements, and should come away with a better understanding of how to more effectively investigate these environments.

Working Group Workshops

The first day of the workshop will be open to all Institute participants. Introducing talks and short presentations will emphasize new issues and approaches developed to address biogeochemical interactions at deep-sea vents sites. The last two days of the Theoretical Institute will comprise of five working group sessions and is limited to 50 participants. These working groups will provide an opportunity to plan IR-scale multi-disciplinary contributions to international programmes and/or collaborative projects, for which benefits should be gained from interdisciplinary approaches.

1. Regional-scale plume studies and water column chemistry/biogeochemistry It is proposed to focus on a coordinated effort with GEOTRACES, the new international, ocean chemistry programme, to mount a major expedition to study biogeochemical cycling and fluxes from the southern East Pacific Rise and their impact on Ocean budgets.

2. The hidden biosphere : Metabolic diversity, element fluxes and mineral signatures This session aims at developing collaborations between geo and bio-scientists in future IODP proposals and exploration programmes

3. Life in extreme environments: strategies and adaptations It is proposed to discuss the organisation of integrated experiments on model environments of the EPR, MAR and JdFR and Guaymas basin, focussing on the biological, biogeochemical and geochemical processes sustaining life in extreme hydrothermal conditions.

4. Observatories: tools and strategies for long-term seafloor ecosystems studies One major objective of this session is to provide inputs to the MOMAR observatory science package, in particular, taking benefit of the Orion initiative and implementation of Neptune observatory

5. New approaches and tools for biological and chemical sensing The session intends to make the point on existing tools and on-going developments, as well as, needed technology breakthroughs for future studies, taking advantage from a broad cross-disciplinary participation associating scientists and engineers from the both IR community and other related-fields.


Scientific committee N. Le Bris (IFREMER, France), M. K. Tivey (WHOI, USA), S. Sievert (WHOI, USA), G. German (WHOI, USA), K. Takai (JAMSTEC, Japan), F. Wenzhöfer (MPI-MM, Germany), F. Gaill (CNRS, France)

Organisation committee Nadine Le Bris (IFREMER, France), Margaret K. Tivey (WHOI, USA), Stefan Sievert (WHOI, USA), Jian Lin (IR Chair), Chris German (IR co-chair), Rhian Waller (IR office) and Kristen Kusek (IR office).

Sponsoring organizations: InterRidge, Ifremer, Jamstec, Ridge2000, DOEI (WHOI), CNRS