Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Document Type


Publication Title

Biodiversity Data Journal



Publication Date



deep-sea mining, INDEX, fauna catalogue, video imagery, photographs, biodiversity



The growing interest in mineral resources of the deep sea, such as seafloor massive sulphide deposits, has led to an increasing number of exploration licences issued by the International Seabed Authority. In the Indian Ocean, four licence areas exist, resulting in an increasing number of new hydrothermal vent fields and the discovery of new species. Most studies focus on active venting areas including their ecology, but the non-vent megafauna of the Central Indian Ridge and South East Indian Ridge remains poorly known.

In the framework of the Indian Ocean Exploration project in the German license area for seafloor massive sulphides, baseline imagery and sampling surveys were conducted yearly during research expeditions from 2013 to 2018, using video sledges and Remotely Operated Vehicles.

New information

This is the first report of an imagery collection of megafauna from the southern Central Indian- and South East Indian Ridge, reporting the taxonomic richness and their distribution. A total of 218 taxa were recorded and identified, based on imagery, with additional morphological and molecular confirmed identifications of 20 taxa from 89 sampled specimens. The compiled fauna catalogue is a synthesis of megafauna occurrences aiming at a consistent morphological identification of taxa and showing their regional distribution. The imagery data were collected during multiple research cruises in different exploration clusters of the German licence area, located 500 km north of the Rodriguez Triple Junction along the Central Indian Ridge and 500 km southeast of it along the Southeast Indian Ridge.





First Page



This study was funded by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources. Pictures and samples, presented in this study, originate from the INDEX exploration project for marine polymetallic sulphides by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Exploration activities are carried out in the framework and under the regulations of an exploration licence with the International Seabed Authority.

Many thanks to the captain and crew of the “RV Sonne”, “RV Pelagia” and “RV Porquoi pas?”. The ROV teams from the GEOMAR (ROV Kiel6000), the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (ROPOS) and the IFREMER (ROV Victor 6000) made this study possible with their expertise in gaining the video imagery and photographs. Thanks to the GRG who participated to the acquisition, processing and interpretation of the data shown and discussed in this paper.

Additional Comments

© 2021 Klaas Gerdes, Terue Kihara, Pedro Martínez Arbizu, Thomas Kuhn, Ulrich Schwarz-Schampera, Christopher Mah, Jon Norenburg, Thomas Linley, Kate Shalaeva, Enrique Macpherson, Dennis Gordon, Sabine Stöhr, Charles Messing, Simon Bober, Theresa Guggolz, Magdalini Christodoulou, Andrey Gebruk, Antonina Kremenetskaia, Andreas Kroh, Karen Sanamyan, Kathrin Bolstad, Leon Hoffman, Andrew Gooday, Tina Molodtsova This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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