Benjamin M. Grupe

Image Grupe, Benjamin
NSERC Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow

Deep-sea ecologist researching the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area and other chemosynthetic ecosystems.

Current research and/or projects

I am a postdoctoral scientist in the Marine Spatial Ecology and Analysis (MSEA) section with DFO Pacific's Ecosystem Science division. My research focuses on the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area, where as chief scientist I led a research survey in 2016. I have been trained as a deep-sea benthic ecologist and biological oceanographer in a variety of marine settings. I am particularly interested in how biodiversity of invertebrates is organized throughout the vent fields and habitats within the MPA, how communities on vent chimneys change after venting wanes, and helping to establish baseline surveys that can be repeated to monitor temporal changes in the MPA. To this point in my career, I have also worked on deep-sea methane seeps in the Northeast Pacific, rocky intertidal communities and sea urchins in Oregon, water monitoring in estuaries and sandy beaches, and soft-sediment invertebrates living in mussel beds in the Northwest Atlantic.

Research and/or project statements

  • Co-PI on DFO research cruise to Endeavour Hydrothermal Vent MPA in August 2016
  • Research questions involve community structure across multiple vent fields within the MPA, spatial analysis of habitat types within vent fields, trophic structure of vent invertebrates, colonization processes, and temporal succession of vent sulphide structures after they go "extinct" and stop venting fluids
  • Authored a CSAS Science Response addressing Canadian Pacific methane seep ecosystems as Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs)

Professional activities / interests

  • Biodiversity and community structure in deep-sea chemosynthetic environments
  • Deep-sea exploration and application of deep submergence technology
  • Application of metacommunity theory to methane seeps and hydrothermal vents
  • Benthic marine ecology and invertebrate zoology

Education and awards

B.A. (Magna cum laude) Biology and Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania USA, 2003

M.Sc. Biology, Oregon Insitute of Marine Biology, University of Oregon USA, 2006

Ph.D. Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego USA, 2014

International experience and/or work

NSERC Visiting international postdoctoral fellow from the United States

Research cruises off the coasts of the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Chile

International working groups and collaborations I've participated in have focused on climate change in the deep sea (INDEEP Climate Change), interactions between hydrothermal vents and methane seeps and other ecosystems within the deep-sea (DOSI), and methods for studying deep-sea colonization processes (INDEEP Populations)

Key publications

Mullineaux, LS, A Metaxas, SE Beaulieu, M Bright, S Gollner, BM Grupe, S Herrera, JB Kellner, LA Levin, S Mitarai, MG Neubert, AM Thurnherr, V Tunnicliffe, HK Watanabe, Y-J Won. 2018. Exploring the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents in a metacommunity framework. Frontiers in Marine Science 5:49. doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00049

Ebert TA, LM Barr, JL Bodkin, et al. 2018. Size, growth, and density data for shallow-water sea urchins from Mexico to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 1956-2016. Ecology 99(3):761. doi:10.1002/ecy.2123

Sweetman AK, AR Thurber, CR Smith, et al. 2017. Major impacts of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 5:4. doi:10.1525/elementa.203

Levin LA, GF Mendoza, BM Grupe. 2017. Methane seepage effects on biodiversity and biological traits of macrofauna inhabiting authigenic carbonates. Deep-Sea Research II 137:26-41. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.05.021

Levin LA, AR Baco, DA Bowden, A Colaco, EE Cordes, MR Cunha, AWJ Demopoulos, J Gobin, BM Grupe, J Le, A Metaxas, AN Netburn, GW Rouse, AR Thurber, V Tunnicliffe, CL Van Dover, A Vanreusel, L Watling. 2016. Hydrothermal vents and methane seeps: rethinking the sphere of influence. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:72. doi:10.3389/fmars.2016.00072

Grupe BM, ML Krach, AL Pasulka, JM Maloney, LA Levin, CA Frieder. 2015. Methane ecosystem functions and services from a recently discovered southern California seep. Marine Ecology 36(S1):91-108. doi:10.1111/maec.12243

Case DH, AL Pasulka, J Marlow, BM Grupe, LA Levin, VJ Orphan. Methane seep carbonates host distinct, diverse, and dynamic microbial assemblages. 2015. mBio 6(6):301348-15.

Levin LA, GF Mendoza, BM Grupe, JP Gonzalez, B Jellison, G Rouse, AR Thurber, A Waren. 2015. Biodiversity on the rocks: Macrofauna inhabiting authigenic carbonate at Costa Rica methane seeps. PLoS ONE 10(7):e0131080. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131080

Maloney JM, BM Grupe, AL Pasulka, KS Dawson, DH Case, CA Frieder, LA Levin, NW Driscoll. 2015. Transpressional segment boundaries in strike-slip fault systems offshore southern California: Implications for fluid expulsion and cold seep habitats. Geophysical Research Letters 42:4080-4088. doi:10.1002/2025GL063778

Commito JA, AE Commito, RV Platt, BM Grupe, WE Dow Piniak, NJ Gownaris, KA Reeves, AM Vissichelli. 2014. Recruitment facilitation and spatial pattern formation in soft-bottom mussel beds. Ecosphere 5(12):160. doi:10.1890/ES14-00200.1

Davidson TM, *BM Grupe. 2014. Habitat modification by bioeroding sea urchins and implications for fine-scale community structure. Marine Ecology 36(2):185-209. doi:10.1111/maec.12134. *Equal author contributions

Sapir A, AR Dillman, SA Connon, BM Grupe, et al. 2014. Microsporidia-nematode associations in methane seeps reveal basal fungal parasitism as a characteristic of the deep sea. Frontiers in Microbiology 5:43. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00043

Mora C, C-L Wei, A Rollo, T Amaro, AR Baco, D Billett, L Bopp, Q Chen, M Collier, R Danovaro, AJ Gooday, BM Grupe, et al. 2013. Biotic and human vulnerability to projected changes in ocean biogeochemistry over the 21st century. PLoS Biology 11(10): e1001682. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001682

Levin LA, VJ Orphan, GW Rouse, AE Rathburn, W Ussler III, GS Cook, SK Goffredi, EM Perez, A Waren, BM Grupe, G Chadwick, B Strickrott. 2012. A hydrothermal seep on the Costa Rica margin: middle ground in a continuum of reducing ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279: 2580-2588. doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.0205

Commito JA, S Como, BM Grupe, WE Dow. 2008. Species diversity in the soft-bottom intertidal zone: Biogenic structure, sediment, and macrofauna across mussel bed spatial scales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 366: 70-81. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2008.07.010

Commito JA, WE Dow, BM Grupe. 2006. Hierarchical spatial structure in soft-bottom mussel beds. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 330: 27-37. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2005.12.015

Research facility

9860 West Saanich Road
Sidney, BC V8L 4B2


Deep-Sea Biological Society

Western Society of Naturalists

Ecological Society of America



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