Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are locations in the world's oceans where oxygen saturation in the water column is at its lowest, typically occurring at depths ranging from 200-1000 meters. Scientists like Dr. Karen Wishner, a biological oceanographer who contributed to this album, are interested in studying OMZs to learn more about the intricate processes affecting the fauna and nutrient cycles within them. The volcanically formed Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago region offshore Baja California, Mexico, provided an excellent location to explore the effects of the OMZ on benthic communities. During a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) transect dive from deep to shallow waters along the eastern flank of the island, strong zonation associated with depth, oxygen concentration, and geologic features was observed. Click through to explore the variation in species and abundance of organisms as we moved through this particular OMZ!
Learn more about the Revillagigedo Archipelago expedition.
Again moving offshore from the Baja California Peninsula, Nautilus will return for deeper exploration of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, consisting of the islands of Socorro, Clarion, San Benedicto, Roca Partida and numerous associated seamounts. Oceanic seamounts are critical features of the ocean basins that focus biological activity by providing hard substrates coupled with upwelling currents, are potential sites of seafloor mineralization, and pose hazards to benthic communities and human populations as a result of active volcanism.