Deep Sea Research, Part II vol. 56 (11-12): a special issue dedicated to the main scientific accomplishments of CIESM-SUB I-II campaigns, published in May 2009.

Deep Sea Research Part II: Multi-disciplinary forays into the south Tyrrhenian Sea: 2005 CIESM/SUB cruises
Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Editor: John D. Milliman
Guest Editors: Frédéric Briand, Laura Giuliano

The volume contains the most striking results of the first two CIESM-SUB campaigns, that were carried out in a critical area of the western Mediterranean basin. The Tyrrhenian Sea is assumed to play a crucial role in the dynamics of Mediterranean circulation and remains poorly known in respect to many of its physical, chemical and biological features. Further, this region harbours deep-sea habitats of unusual complexity, distributed within the arc-shape southern Apennines-Calabrian arc-Sicilian Maghrebides area.

Using a multidisciplinary sampling strategy, the participating scientists from different Mediterranean countries were able to document the influence of westward fluxes on the nutrient dynamics, plankton size distribution and hydrological structure of the sampled area . Coming decades will determine whether this pattern cascades further into the western basin and, if so, how it will be reflected in the macro-biota. Another key finding was the evidence of a persistent anticyclonic eddy, close to the Vavilov Seamount, likely of remote northwestern Mediterranean origin.

This issue can be directly ordered from the publisher.

The microbiota, for its part, is very well covered in this special issue, with articles ranging from the diversity and distribution of Bacteria and Archaea to viral production. The CIESM - SUB campaigns investigated newly described metabolic pathways, typical of the deep sea, which appear to play a fundamental yet underestimated role in supporting marine productivity (e.g., auto-trophic and ammonia-oxidizing Crenarchaeal assemblages). New molecular tools are presented, allowing a direct search for genes of possible ecological importance (e.g., luxA genes, responsible for bioluminescence) in the deep sea.

Future microbiological research in the deep Tyrrhenian Sea will need to explore the temporal and spatial environmental gradients constraining microbial diversity – determining whether genetic groups have specific biogeographic distributions – and to broaden the search for genetic markers.