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The long life of plastic waste at an experimental mining site.

Not all scientific research begins with specific intent. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as ocean scientists embarked on an ambitious plan to understand the potential impacts of deep-sea mining by simulating the disturbance caused by removing polymetallic nodules from the seafloor, they inadvertently seeded an entirely different experiment, which would ultimately provide insight […]

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Bioprospecting in Practice: How a drug goes from the ocean to the clinic.

Bioprospecting, the discovery of new pharmaceutical compounds, industrial chemicals, and novel genes from natural systems, is frequently cited among the critical non-mineral commercial activities that yield value from the deep ocean. Isolating new chemicals or molecular processes from nature can provide substantial benefits to numerous industries. The value of products derived from marine genetic resources […]

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The Armor of the Iron Snail

Throughout the animal kingdom, evolution has devised myriad ways for organisms to protect themselves from predators, competitors, and their environment. The advent of hard, biomineralized shells — shells formed from minerals extracted from the environment and reconstituted through biological — is a major development in the evolution of life on earth.  Most biomineralization comes in […]

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A 3-decade-long disturbance study on the deep abyssal plain.

In the late 1980s, as the first wave of deep-sea mining exploration approached a decade of hibernation, researchers launched an ambitious experiment to understand the long-term environmental impact of harvesting polymetallic nodules from the abyssal plain. The Disturbance and recolonization experiment in a manganese nodule area of the deep South Pacific (DISCOL) remains the most […]

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The deep-sea mining community adapts to the new normal under coronavirus restrictions.

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer The coronavirus pandemic is changing the world in dramatic and subtle ways, exacting a toll measured both in lost lives and economic uncertainty. Deep-sea mining has been in development for over 50 years and now, at the moment in which negotiations were poised to transition the industry from exploration to […]

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The Great Deep Ocean Migration

In the early days of exploration, the deep-sea was thought to be largely devoid of life, a vast empty plain of mud wrapped around the world, too deep for living organisms to survive. But the more humans explore, the more life we discover in increasingly unexpected places, from the boiling water of hydrothermal vents, to […]

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What do people talk about when they talk about Deep-sea Mining?

While negotiations rage within the halls of the International Seabed Authority over the draft mining code, the operationalization of the enterprise, and the development of the financial model, a second conversation is happening, distributed across the internet and engaging an entirely different cohort of stakeholders. Deep-sea mining attracts a passionate collection of activists, technologists, policy […]

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