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Click on a seamount to get information or search data by:
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m min to m max
What is SeamountsOnline?
Since 2001, SeamountsOnline has been gathering data on species that have been observed or collected from seamounts and providing these data through a freely-available online portal. It is designed to facilitate research into seamount ecology, and to act as a resource for managers. It is also the database component of the Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts.
Who are we?SeamountsOnline is led by Karen Stocks, a researcher at the University of California who works on deep-sea biodiversity using information systems, and Emma (Emiko) Cook, a biodiversity data manager.
SeamountsOnline holds data on species that have been recorded from seamounts. Taxonomically, all metazoan species are considered and, spatially, all seamounts globally are included (if biological data are available). We do not follow a strict geological definition of a seamount, so data on features smaller than 1000m high are included. Both hydrothermally-active and non-active seamounts are included, though the coverage is better for non-venting seamounts. SeamountsOnline is in active development, and data content is periodically expanded. Please note that the contents of SeamountsOnline are not complete - there are data that remain to be entered.
- The complete list of data sources currently held by SeamountsOnline.
- Do you have Seamount data? Please see our data request.
Contact UsHave questions? Find problems? Wishing for other features? We want your feedback. You can email us at kstocks "at" sdsc.edu (replace "at" with @).
SeamountsOnline has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (DBI 0074498 and OCE 0340839) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It has benefitted from the advice and assistance of UCSD researchers Lisa Levin and David Stockwell, data managers Mark Tetrick and Emiko Cook, postdoctoral researcher Paul Brewin, and undergraduate students Elisheba Spiller, John Lin, Megan Williams, Melissa Cheung, Jenny Fong, Evan Fox, Paul Brewin, and Karen Tran.
What are seamounts and why are they interesting?
Seamounts are undersea peaks in the ocean floor - "mountains" rising from the bottom of the sea that do not break the water's surface. They are important and interesting for several reasons:
- They are excellent case studies for understanding marine biodiversity patterns: seamounts vary greatly in their biodiversity and levels of endemism, may be centers of speciation, and may act as "stepping stones" for the dispersal of coastal species, though these hypotheses are far from well tested.
- They are often areas of high biomass that support commercially important fisheries and coral mining, and may support manganese crust mining in the near future.
- They are fragile ecosystems that must be managed carefully and with good scientific information in order to prevent habitat damage and overfishing.
Where can I find more information on seamounts?
- The Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts website has information and links to resources on seamount biology, particularly on their Outreach page.
- The Seamount Catalog holds data on seamount geology and morphology, including high-resolution maps from multibeam data.
- The recent book "Seamounts: Ecology, Fisheries and Conservation" from Blackwell Science provides a good, recent summary of our knowledge of the ecology of seamounts.
Where can I get images from seamounts?
SeamountsOnline does not currently collect photos or video. Listed below are some sites that do have seamount images - please check the copyright and use policy of the site before using their images.
- NOAA Ocean Explorer - images of biota and seamount maps. Below are links to several seamount expeditions, others can be found on the main Ocean Explorer website.
- The Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts's photo page
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's seamount maps
How many seamounts are there, and where are they?
The true number of seamounts in the oceans is unknown, for the simple reason that we have not mapped the entire seafloor in sufficient detail to find all the seamounts. From the existing seafloor bathymetry data, the locations of 14,000 seamounts have been predicted, but we know that this is a vast underestimate. Have a look at this pdf of Kitchingman and Lai's excellent modeling work, which provides more information including a map of predicted global seamount locations (page 10). Paul Wessel's work provides 100,000 as the best estimate for the number of seamounts over 1000m tall - you can read more in his chapter in the Blackwell's Seamount book.
If you are interested in downloading the entire SeamountsOnline dataset as CSV, you can find the zipped version here.
SeamountsOnline now supports some OGC services including Web Mapping Service (WMS)
and Web Feature Servuce (WFS). In particular you may be interested in WFS to get
SeamountsOnline data into your own GIS client. The SeamountsOnline WFS server
also supports Filter Encoding.
Get capabilities request
In the course of developing SeamountsOnline, over 1,500 literature citations have been collected relating to seamounts. The coverage is most comprehensive for biological sampling on seamounts. Geology, hydrology, chemistry, etc. are also represented, but the coverage is not as thorough. To download the entire bibliography as a text file, right-click your mouse button on the desired link below:
To search the database for particular references, enter a word or phrase in the box below and hit the submit button. All fields will be searched, so you can enter an author, a seamount name, a keyword, or another term. Select either "and" or "or" for separate multiple words. You may enter partial words for searching. For example, if the input is "cano" the phrase "Volcano", "canonical", and "Chascanopsetta" will all be found.
SeamountsOnline occasionally gets datasets that we do not integrate into the main, searchable database. Often, this happens because the data are compiled from multiple sources, some of which are already entered into SeamountsOnline, which would lead to duplicate records. (SeamountsOnline prefers, when possible, to enter data directly from the original data source, not from secondary sources.) In other cases, SeamountsOnline has not yet had the time to import the dataset into SeamountsOnline and wishes to make it available in the meantime.
The reason the datasets were not imported into SeamountsOnline is noted for each dataset.
Instead, we offer these datasets here as stand-alone, downloadable files. They are offered "as-is" - they have undergone no quality control, taxonomic standardization, or other checking, and are provided in the original format.
This deep-coral distribution dataset was compiled for Hall-Spencer, J.M., Rogers, A., Davies, J., Foggo, A. (2007) Historical deep-sea coral distribution on seamount, oceanic island and continental shelf-slope habitats in the NE Atlantic. In: R. Y. George and S. D. Cairns, eds. Conservation and adaptive management of seamount and deep-sea coral ecosystems. Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami. Miami. 324 p. Note that it includes both seamount and non-seamount records. This dataset will be imported into SeamountsOnline, but separating new records from duplicated records, and seamount records from non-seamount records, will take some time, and we are making it available here in the meantime.
SeamountsOnline will soon expand to hold information on physico-chemical data that were taking in association with biological samples (e.g. grain size analyses or CTD casts taken at the same station as biological samples). We do not collect large-scale environmental datasets that may be of interest to understanding seamount communities, such as the World Ocean Atlas, global bathymetry and CARS datasets, as there are other programs serving and maintaining these resources.
This is a grab-bag of interesting tools and datasets that we've run across and found useful.
- The Seamount Catalog: This is a sister project to SeamountsOnline, collecting information on the geology and bathymetry of seamounts globally
- The Global Seamount Database: a dataset of the locations of all seamounts that can be predicted from the existing global bathymetry data. Several of these datasets exist, and some new compilations are coming soon and will be posted here when available.
- The Seamount Discovery Tool: One of the great challenges of predicting the locations and depths of seamounts is the fact that global bathymetry maps are compiled of a mix of high-quality multibeam data, where available, and satellite altimetry to fill in the remainder. Altimetry estimates can give depths that are off by as much as 1500m over seamounts (Anthony Koppers, pers. comm.). David Sandwell has created this Google Earth tool that shows global bathymetry plus, when you zoom in, tracks indicating where data are from actual soundings vs. altimetry, so you can tell how good the bathymetry data are over a particular seamount.
If you have any questions or comments about our work, you can email us using the form below.
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