As part of the seafloor research taking place on the #DY130 PAP cruise, two sets of amphipod traps were sent to the abyss. Amphipods are a type of scavenging crustacean that play a crucial role in deep-sea food webs. They feed on food-falls like the bodies of dead marine mammals and fish that sink to the seafloor, and the amphipods themselves represent an important food source for other animals that inhabit the abyssal depths.
The traps are sent down to the seafloor containing the finest fish bait, which attract a multitude of amphipod species, of all sizes and colours (ranging from almost translucent to bright pink!). The sampling of the amphipod community at the PAP site has been ongoing since 1985. Over this time, researchers have been able to determine what the dominant species are and monitor how the community changes over time, with recent findings showing that changing environmental conditions in the atmosphere and water column above affecting the amphipods communities. Continued monitoring of these deep-sea creatures through baited traps is sure to uncover more interesting features of the PAP benthic ecosystem.
Link to recent paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661120300574