Working Groups

WG1: Taxonomy & Evolution

Leads: Dr Adrian Glover, NHM, London, UK.  ( and Dr Tammy Horton, NOC, Southampton, UK (                                                                                                                                      

The Census of Marine Life found that every second specimen collected from waters deeper than 3000 m likely belongs to a new species. With the development of improved sampling techniques, the number of deep-sea benthic and pelagic samples collected in the recent decades has been increasing. Despite the availability of this wealth of data and samples, difficulties remain in accessing the necessary information and the expertise to identify and classify the species within.

WG1 is working towards making taxonomic identification tools and resources widely available to the community and to create new knowledge on the evolution of life in the deep sea.

To read more about WG1's activities see the first DIVE-IN (WG1)


WG2: Biodiversity & Biogeography

Leads: Dr Tim O'Hara, Museum Victoria, Australia ( and Dr Derek Tittensor, Dalhousie University, Canada (

The deep-sea fauna is unquestionably diverse, but the question of quite how diverse remains unresolved. A recent study predicts a total of 2.2 million marine species, with a striking estimation of 91% of the species still awaiting description (Mora et al., 2011). Many may reside in the deep-sea, but our knowledge of large-scale biodiversity and global biogeographic maps is very limited.

WG2 aims at investigating global patterns of biodiversity and biogeography for key species or taxa.

To read more about WG2's activities see the first DIVE-IN (WG2 - Biodiverity)  and DIVE-IN (WG2 - Biogeography)

WG3: Population Connectivity

Leads: Dr Anna Metaxas, Dalhousie University, Canada (,  Dr Eva Ramirez-Llodra, NIVA, Norway ( and Dr Ana Hilario, University of Aveiro, Portugal (

To fully understand the maintenance of local populations, as well as estimating vulnerability and recovery of exploited systems, a good knowledge of the early life-history patterns of species and the exchange of individuals or “connectivity” is critical. However, data on the processes that impact upon connectivity is still lacking for most deep-sea species and improving knowledge of larval ecology remains one of the major challenges currently faced by deep-sea biologists (Metaxas & Kelly 2010).

WG3 aims at gathering all available information on deep-sea population connectivity in 2 synthesis papers and to design and develop a global field programme of recruitment experiments in collaboration with industry. In addition, this WG hopes to develop a first INDEEP capacity development workshop to be held in Africa in 2016.

To read more about WG3's activities see the first DIVE-IN (WG3)


WG4: Ecosystem Function

Leads: Dr Andrew Thurber, Oregon State University, USA ( and Dr Andrew Sweetman, International Research Inst. of Stavanger, Norway (

Ecosystem functions are the abiotic and biological processes that contribute to the maintenance of an ecosystem. Important ecosystem functions include food webs, biomass to organic-carbon flux ratios, rates of seafloor recycling and burial of organic matter. Understanding the functioning of an ecosystem and its relation to biodiversity patterns is essential in identifying its recovery potential from disturbance, both natural and anthropogenic.

WG4 focuses on establishing a baseline of knowledge about how the deep sea functions, identifying the mechanism by which the services provided by the deep sea will be impacted by climate change and modelling this impact of climate change in the world’s populations.

To read more about WG4's activities see the first DIVE-IN (WG4)