Friday, August 6, 2010

Research Profile: Dr. Paul Snelgrove

I am a Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland's Ocean Sciences Centre and Biology Department, where I have been since 1996. I am also the Director of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, a research collaboration of 65 marine scientists from coast to coast in Canada that grew out of my active involvement in the international Census of Marine Life ( The Hudson cruise and the data we are collecting on this trip are a key component of that Network.
I completed his PhD at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Massachusetts Institute of Technology following an MSc at McGill University and a BSc Hons. at Memorial. During my PhD I worked in deep-sea ecology using the submersibles Johnson SeaLink and Alvin. When I returned to Canada, opportunities for deep-sea research were few, but with the emergence of tools like ROPOS and the opportunities provided by CHONe, I have returned to the deep to ask what factors determine patterns of species diversity in deep-sea ecosystems and what is the importance of that diversity for the health of the oceans. Keep in mind that deep-sea sediments represent the largest habitat on Earth in area! During this cruise one of our major tools is a multicorer, a sampler we lower over the side to collect sediments and the diverse animals that live between the sediment grains. Because of the multiple objectives of this cruise, most of our work is during the night when the ROPOs team is getting some sleep – our goal is to make maximum use of the time we are on Hudson! We also use smaller cores, which ROPOS pushes into the sediment and then recovers so that we can sample very precisely near specific seafloor features that we cannot know are there when we sample blindly with the multicorer.