Scientists on deck of the old research vessel Sonne leaving the port in Vladivostok.

Kuril Kamchatka Biodiversity Studies — KuramBio

Four deep-sea expeditions (SoJaBio, KuramBio, SokhoBio, KuramBio II) to the Northwest Pacific have been conducted between 2010 and 2016 as a German-Russian collaborative enterprise. These investigated the patterns and processes of biodiversity and biogeography, such as species turnover, connectivity, range extensions and evolution in the Kuril Kamchatka Trench (KKT) region.

Specific hypotheses that have been tested during the recent KuramBio II expedition were that (1) the hadal of the KKT is characterized by a high number of species; that (2) the number of endemic species increases with increasing depth in the KKT; and that (3) the hadal depths of the KKT are a barrier to dispersal and gene flow separating faunas of the Sea of Okhotsk from that of the abyssal NW Pacific.

These expeditions were designed to complement the wide-ranging Russian deep-sea sampling campaigns of the 20th century conducted with the Russian research vessel RV Vityaz. The species inventory of the KKT region was added on by application of state-of-the-art sampling gear and analysis techniques providing a robust taxonomic foundation upon which biogeographic and biodiversity studies are based.

These projects have close ties to the BENEFICIAL project. While the funding for the most recent funding period (KuramBio II) ran out in 2018 the material is still being worked on and the above-mentioned questions are still pursued, for instance in the framework of masters theses and Ph.D. theses. In the near future a follow-up project will target the deep sea benthic fauna of the Aleutian trench.


Selected publications of the KuramBio series of projects:


Brandt A, Brix S, Riehl T, Malyutina MV (2020) Biodiversity and biogeography of the abyssal and hadal Kuril-Kamchatka Trench and adjacent NW Pacific deep-sea regions. Prog Oceanog 181:102232.

Malyutina MV, Chernyshev AV, Brandt A (2018) Introduction to the SokhoBio (Sea of Okhotsk Biodiversity Studies) expedition 2015. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 154:1–9.

Brandt A, Malyutina MV (2015) The German–Russian deep-sea expedition KuramBio (Kurile Kamchatka biodiversity studies) on board of the RV Sonne in 2012 following the footsteps of the legendary expeditions with RV Vityaz. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topological Studies in Oceanography 1–9.