Press Release

Deep-sea infauna with calcified exoskeletons imaged in situ using a new 3D acoustic coring system (A-core-2000)

Release:Jul 27, 2022 Update:Jan 11, 2023
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Professor Katsunori Mizuno of the Department of Environment Systems in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences led the research project.


The deep ocean is Earth's largest habitable space inhabited by diverse benthic organisms. Infauna play crucial roles in shaping sedimentary structures, relocating organic matter, porewater chemistry, and hence biogeochemical cycles. However, the visualization and quantification of infauna in situ inside deep-sea sediment has been challenging, due to their sparse distribution and that deep-sea cameras do not visualize animals living below the sediment surface. Here, we newly developed a 3D acoustic "coring" system and applied it to visualize and detect burrowing bivalves in deep-sea sediments. The in situ acoustic observation was conducted at a dense colony of vesicomyid clams in a hydrocarbon seep in Sagami Bay, Japan, focusing on a patch of juvenile clams with a completely infaunal life style. We clearly observed strong backscatters from the top and lower edges of animals in our 3D acoustic data. At least 17 reflectors were identified in the survey area (625 cm2), interpreted to correspond to living clams. The estimated depths of the lower edge of clams ranged between 41 and 98 mm. The acoustic system presented here is effective for detecting and monitoring infauna with calcified exoskeletons. This novel tool will help us better assess and understand the distribution of deep-sea infauna, particularly those groups with hard exoskeletons, as well as biogeochemical cycles.


Puclication: Scientific Reports (July 27, 2022)
Title: Deep-sea infauna with calcified exoskeletons imaged in situ using a new 3D acoustic coring system (A-core-2000)
Authors: Katsunori Mizuno*、Hidetaka Nomaki、Chong Chen、Koji Seike
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-16356-3

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