Deep-sea systematics and ecology research group

The research group is interested in deep-sea species, such as tube worms (Lamellibrachia). Credit: Adrian Glover.

Our research group is studying the natural history of the deep sea.

We are interested in the origins, adaptive radiation, classification, biodiversity and ecological interactions of deep-sea animals.

We work with academic colleagues, government funding agencies and industry to take part in deep-sea oceanographic research expeditions across the globe.

Our research mainly focuses on annelid worms (polychaetes), an abundant and diverse group of invertebrates. They inhabit deep-sea muddy sediments, and chemosynthetic ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and whale-falls.

We also study and collect genetic data on other animal groups, including molluscs, echinoderms, bryozoans, sponges and cnidarians.

We are undertaking a range of science projects related to deep-sea biology, and contributing data and specimens to the Museum's collection. These projects are underpinned by our high-quality taxonomic work, which combines both molecular (DNA) and morphological data, and uses species concepts based on phylogenetic inference.

Principal investigator

Dr Adrian Glover

Project summary

Focus: Studying the origins, diversity and interactions of life in the planet's largest ecosystem


Antarctic marine biodiversity and climate change

Documenting and monitoring biodiversity deep in the Southern Ocean.

Deep Sea ID app

Creating a simple, photographic guide to deep-sea fauna to improve identifications in the field.

Establishing biodiversity baselines in a UK deep-sea mining claim

Recording baseline biodiversity in Pacific mining claims.

REX - the remotely operated vehicle for education and exploration

Creating a low-cost underwater exploration facility for everyone.

Systematics and ecology of deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems

Studying the animals at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and related ecosystems.

Exploring the evolution of animals at deep-sea hot springs

Examining the role of hydrothermal vents in driving the evolution of novel adaptations in deep-sea animals.

Related information

Biodiversity research

We are creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity.

Invertebrate research

Our scientists are investigating the taxonomy, systematics and biodiversity of groups of invertebrates.

Zoology collections

Our zoology collection has 29 million animal specimens and is rich in voucher, type and historical specimens.