A pivotal moment in the history of deep-sea mining

Andrew Thaler for the Deep-sea Mining Observer The spring and summer of 2021 will likely stand as the pivotal moment in the history of deep-sea mining. Months of intense protest amidst significant at-sea progress on environmental impact studies and prototype testing were capped off earlier this week by the explosive announcement that the Republic of […]

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© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

Major Brands Say No to Deep-sea Mining, for the Moment

Andrew Thaler for the DSM Observer On Wednesday, March 30, several major technology and automotive companies joined the deep-sea mining moratorium movement. Google, BMW, Volvo, and Samsung SDI (a Samsung subsidiary responsible for manufacturing small lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and other applications) signed on to the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Global Deep-sea Mining Moratorium […]

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Crabs on a trash bag.

Plastic is reshaping ecosystems in the deep sea

One of the most challenging aspects of assessing and mitigating environmental harm from human use of ocean resources is that, as impacts propagate through the marine environment, human activities may not only remove existing habitats, but, in some cases, create entirely new ones. In offshore oil and gas exploration, cuttings piles can become home for […]

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An incomplete tour of new species recently discovered in the deep ocean

New animal species that are genuinely new to science are remarkably rare. The modern process of discovering and describing a new species, particularly animals, usually follows a pattern of creating more and more nuanced distinctions between already known groups. “New to science” rarely means “never before observed”. In other words, when we find a new […]

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Can you distract a clam?

Sometimes marine scientific studies are deep explorations into the fundamental processes that underpin ecosystem function, yielding critical insights into management and mitigation in the face of anthropogenic impacts. And sometimes marine scientific studies answer basic questions that many stakeholders and practitioners wouldn’t even think to ask. Questions like: Can you distract a clam? In “Are […]

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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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