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Illuminating the Hidden Planet: THE FUTURE OF SEAFLOOR OBSERVATORY SCIENCE
can be established. It is also important to collect time-series measurements that will illuminate the relationships between environmental forcing and changes in ecosystems over very long timescales. These scientific problems will benefit greatly from coordination within a multidisciplinary approach, including long time-series circulation and climate studies. Cabled observatories would be required for forecasting regional changes, while the coordinated use of data from many widely spaced cabled or moored buoy observatories would be needed to study large-scale physical-chemical-biological interactions.
Long-term studies are likely to require a cabled network with a series of moorings with cameras, active omnidirectional acoustic sonars, and environmental sensors measuring physical, chemical, and biological properties. Because identification, genetic, and chemical analyses of organisms will be a component of the studies, procedures for in situ sample processing and sample collection will be needed. Perturbative and event-response approaches will be less important for these studies, but of possible use in specific projects.