Source: Science Daily
In the middle of the Pacific, there is a vast pristine wilderness known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), which was discovered in 1950. Administered by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the zone is under consideration for deep-sea mining due to the abundant presence of minerals—around six billion tons of manganese, nickel, copper and cobalt. The ISA has already issued 19 licences for mining exploration within the area.
Now, a team of biologists trying to understand what may be at risk once companies start mining has compiled all the species records from previous research expeditions to the CCZ, concluding that a total of 5,578 different species have been found in the region. They estimate that 88% to 92% of these are new to science.
“We share this planet with all this amazing biodiversity, and we have a responsibility to understand it and protect it,” says Muriel Rabone, a deep-sea ecologist at the Natural History Museum London who is the lead author of the study in Current Biology. “There’s some just remarkable species down there. Some of the sponges look like classic bath sponges, and some look like vases. They’re just beautiful.” Rabone and her co-authors found that the most common types of animals in the CCZ are arthropods, worms, echinoderms, and sponges.
NGOs and governments are calling for a global moratorium on deep-sea mining until we know more about the potential environmental impacts.
Read more here.
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