Biology at Axial Seamount

Biology at Axial Seamount

Cataloging the Inhabitants of a Deep Sea Volcano

Axial Seamount is an active deep sea volcano located on the Juan de Fuca spreading ridge, with its summit at a depth of 1500 m, and its base at 2600 m.  Lava flows and hydrothermal vents provide habitat for many organisms in the volcano's caldera (at the summit), while a thick layer of pelagic mud offers a far different habitat for biological communities at Axial's base. View the information, images and video related to the many different biological organisms that have been observed over the years of RSN expedition cruises.

View the Biology at Axial Seamount Videos.

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  • Anemones and Corals at Axial
    Anemones and Corals at Axial

    Anemones and corals belong to Class Anthozoa (Phylum Cnidaria).  Though not common at Axial, a few different species (currently

  • Arthropods at Axial
    Arthropods at Axial

    Axial Seamount's spider crabs, squat lobsters, shrimp and sea spiders all belong to Phylum Arthropoda. Return to the

  • Arthropods at Axial Video
    Arthropods at Axial Video

    HD Video Clips of crabs, squat lobster, shrimp and sea spiders.

  • Axial Caldera
    Axial Caldera

    Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca spreading center is the most magmatically robust volcano on the ridge, having erupted in 1998 and most recently in April 2011.

  • Bony Fish at Axial
    Bony Fish at Axial

    Several species of bony fish have been documented at Axial.  Scroll down to learn of several of these fish, of which the Rattail

  • Brittle Stars at Axial
    Brittle Stars at Axial

    Brittle stars belong to Class Ophiuroidea (Phylum Echinodermata) and have radial symmetry, with five elongate, skinny arms extending

  • Cephalopods at Axial
    Cephalopods at Axial

    At Axial Seamount, there are two common species of octopus, and at least one squid.  These taxa all belong to Phylum Mollusca, C

  • Ciliates on Axial
    Ciliates on Axial

    Colonial ciliates are single celled organisms, members of Kingdom Protista.  Blue Ciliates (Folli

  • Ciliates on Axial Video
    Ciliates on Axial Video

    HD Video of colonial blue ciliates on hydrothermal vents at Axial Seamount.

  • Cnidaria at Axial
    Cnidaria at Axial

    Phylum Cnidaria includes jellyfish, anemones and coral, all of which may be found at Axial Seamount. Return to the

  • Cnidaria at Axial Video
    Cnidaria at Axial Video

    HD Video of jellyfish, anemones and coral at Axial Seamount.

  • Crustaceans at Axial
    Crustaceans at Axial

    Spider Crabs and Squat Lobsters (Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea) are fairly common at Axial Seamount.

  • Echinoderms at Axial
    Echinoderms at Axial

    Seastars (Class Asteroidea), brittle stars (Class Ophiuroidea), urchins (Class Echinoidea), and sea cucumbers (Class Holothuroidea) all belong t

  • Echinoderms at Axial Video
    Echinoderms at Axial Video

    HD Video of seastars, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, and urchins on Axial Seamount.

  • Fish at Axial
    Fish at Axial

    Several species of Bony Fish and Cartilaginous Fish (Phylum Chordata) live at Axial Seamount. Return to the Fish at Axial Video

    Fish at Axial Video

    HD Video of bony and cartilaginous fish at Axial Seamount.

  • Jellyfish at Axial
    Jellyfish at Axial

    Jellyfish belong to Class Scyphozoa (Phylum Cnidaria) and are quite common at Axial.  Several have been photographed and videota

  • Limpets and Snails at Axial
    Limpets and Snails at Axial

    The most common type of marine snail (Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda) at Axial is a Limpet, one of the primary organisms that inhabits the

  • Mollusks at Axial
    Mollusks at Axial

    The Phylum Mollusca includes limpets, snails and clams as well as octopuses and squid! Return to the Mollusks at Axial Video

    Mollusks at Axial Video

    HD Video of limpets, snails, octupuses and squid at Axial Seamount.

  • Palm Worms at Axial
    Palm Worms at Axial

    Palm Worms

  • Polychaetes at Axial
    Polychaetes at Axial

    Tubeworms, palm worms and scale worms (Phylum Annelida, Class Polychaeta) are all common on hydrothermal vents at Axial Se

  • Polychaetes at Axial Video
    Polychaetes at Axial Video

    HD Video of Tube worms, palm worms and scaleworms on hydrothermal vents at Axial Seamount.

  • Salps at Axial
    Salps at Axial

    Salps are planktonic Tunicates, and are in Phylum Chordata along with fish and all vertebrate animals! They move by pumping water thr

  • Salps at Axial Video
    Salps at Axial Video

    HD Video of salps at Axial Seamount.

  • Scaleworms at Axial
    Scaleworms at Axial

    Scaleworms are flat-bodied, segmented Polychaetes that are very commonly observed roaming through tube worms and ciliate colonies on hydrothermal vents at Axial Seamount.

  • Sea Cucumbers at Axial
    Sea Cucumbers at Axial

    Class Holothuria consists of the somewhat humorous Sea Cucumbers. Deep Sea Cucumber (Pannychia moseleyi

  • Sea Spiders at Axial
    Sea Spiders at Axial

    Sea Spiders belong to Class Pycnogonida (Phylum Arthropoda).  One species is very common on hydrothermal vents at Axial Seamount

  • Sea Urchins at Axial
    Sea Urchins at Axial

    Sea Urchins belong to Class Echinoidea (Phylum Echinodermata)

  • Seastars at Axial
    Seastars at Axial

    Two unknown species of seastars (Phylum Echinodermata, Class Asteroidea) have been photographed at Axial. U

  • Tubeworms at Axial
    Tubeworms at Axial

    Ridgeia Tubeworm (Ridgeia piscesae)

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Hydrothermal Vent