Tuesday, July 23

A Biodiversity-Rich Pacific Deep-Sea Mining Hotspot 2023

A analysis of environmental studies in an unexplored area of the Pacific Ocean that might be a deep-sea mining hotspot found almost 5,000 new species on the seafloor.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich ocean bottom region between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific, has been fully studied for the first time. Given anticipated deep-sea mining contracts in the near-pristine area, the research will be crucial to estimating the species’ extinction danger.

Only six creatures, including a carnivorous sponge and a sea cucumber, have been sighted elsewhere.

17 deep-sea mining contractors have 745,000 square miles of CCZ mining exploration contracts. The UK, US, and China-backed corporations aim to mine cobalt, manganese, and nickel for alternative energy.

These businesses can submit exploitation applications to Jamaica’s quasi-UN International Seabed Authority, which supervises deep-sea mining, in July.

An multinational team of scientists created the first “CCZ checklist” by accumulating expedition data to better understand the impact of mining this delicate environment and its newly found creatures. It was published in Current Biology and comprises 5,578 species, 88–92% of which were new.

The paper’s primary author, NHM deep-sea biologist Muriel Rabone, stated, “We share this planet with all this amazing biodiversity and we have a responsibility to understand and protect it.”

The Climate Desk copied this Guardian story.

A analysis of environmental studies in an unexplored area of the Pacific Ocean that might be a deep-sea mining hotspot found almost 5,000 new species on the seafloor.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich ocean bottom region between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific, has been fully studied for the first time. Given anticipated deep-sea mining contracts in the near-pristine area, the research will be crucial to estimating the species’ extinction danger.

Only six creatures, including a carnivorous sponge and a sea cucumber, have been sighted elsewhere.

“The abyssal plane lacks food, but life survives.”

17 deep-sea mining contractors have 745,000 square miles of CCZ mining exploration contracts. The UK, US, and China-backed corporations aim to mine cobalt, manganese, and nickel for alternative energy.

These businesses can submit exploitation applications to Jamaica’s quasi-UN International Seabed Authority, which supervises deep-sea mining, in July.

An multinational team of scientists created the first “CCZ checklist” by accumulating expedition data to better understand the impact of mining this delicate environment and its newly found creatures. It was published in Current Biology and comprises 5,578 species, 88–92% of which were new.

“We share this planet with all this amazing biodiversity and we have a responsibility to understand and protect it,” said NHM deep-sea biologist Muriel Rabone, the paper’s main author.

The “gummy squirrel” Psychropotes longicauda was one of hundreds of newly found Pacific Ocean species. Smartex Project/NERC

Biologists on Pacific research voyages use remote-controlled vehicles to explore the seafloor 4,000 to 6,000 meters below.

Dr. Adrian Glover, a deep-sea biologist at the NHM and principal author of the paper, has participated in multiple excursions to the CCZ, including the UK’s Smartex mission, calling it a “incredible privilege.” UK Seabed Resources (UKSR), a deep-sea mining corporation that operates the UK’s exploration region, supports the trip.

UKSR and Deep Green, now the Metals Company, a mining company, contracted the NHM to provide baseline biodiversity data. It requires peer-reviewed data to be open-access.

From the boat, scientists watch remote-operated machines harvest new species. Glover called the seafloor a “amazing place” where life survives in great cold and darkness. “The abyssal plane lacks food, but life persists there,” he stated. “A mystery.”

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