My research is concerned with the biology of deep-sea animals. The deep-sea is by far the largest habitat occupied by life on the earth, yet it is relatively little studied and little is known about many aspects of the biology of deep-sea organisms. In particular I have focused on the physiological adaptations of such animals. Such studies can inform us about the rates of processes in the deep-sea as well as the operation of selection and the nature of the deep-sea environment. These studies have over the years shown that a priori expectations about the nature of deep-sea animal's physiological adaptations and rates are often wrong. My current research interests are primarily focused on studies of hydrothermal vent animals and other chemoautotrophic symbioses.
This work is concerned with the functioning of the chemoautotrophic symbioses in their environments. I have been pursuing studies of the hydrothermal vent biota since the first biological expedition to the Galapagos vents in 1979. This work has evolved as our understanding has increased, but a major focus over the years has been the study of how the animals physiologically mediate between the environment and their symbionts. This work presently includes studies of
The variation in conditions around vent animals
The stable C and N isotope ratios of inorganic sources and the organic material in the animals
The uptake, transport and assimilation of inorganic C, N, and sulfide by the animals and endosymbionts
Metabolic interactions between the hosts and symbionts, and
Respiratory protein function for both O 2and H 2S uptake and transport in vent animals.