Biological Sampling in the Deep Sea

Biological Sampling in the Deep Sea edited by Malcolm Clark, Mireille Consalvey, and Ashley Rowden presents a large fraction of what we know about this subject in 19 chapters and 472 pages. Published in April 2016 by Wiley-Blackwell (ISBN-10: 0470656743), the book emerged from the dozens of field projects in the deep sea organized under the flag of the Census of Marine Life.  The editors led the seamounts project of the Census and for this book attracted experts also on abyssal plains, vent & seep communities, and the continental margins and all the challenges involved.

Initial chapters cover habitats and fauna, survey and sampling design, and mapping. The heart of the book describes and analyses a panoply of approaches spanning trawls, longlines, epibenthic sledges, corers and grabs, landers (including baited cameras and traps), towed cameras, submersibles and remotely operated vehicles, and even seafloor observatories.  Later chapters address sorting, recording, preservation and storage, information management strategies, and data analysis. Concluding chapters ponder application of studies to governance and management and the future of biological sampling in the deep sea. The 50+ authors are a who’s who of deep sea biology and technology.

The book, carefully edited and attractively produced, is the first comprehensive compilation of deep sea sampling methods for the full range of habitats.  It is hard to imagine writing a sound and successful research proposal in deep sea biology without making use of its breadth and depth.  All the authors and especially the editors and their host institution, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), merit thanks for a volume that advances our chances to excel individually and collectively.  Jesse Ausubel wrote the Foreword for the volume.