Study weighs deep-sea mining’s impact on microbes

Date: January 27, 2020

Source: National Science Foundation

The essential roles microbes play in deep-sea ecosystems are at risk from the potential environmental impacts of mining, a new paper in Limnology and Oceanography reports. The NSF-funded study reviews what is known about microbes in these environments and assesses how mining could impact their important roles.

“The push for deep-sea mining has accelerated in the last few years, and it is crucial that policy makers and the industry understand these microbes and the services they provide,” said Beth Orcutt, a senior research scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and lead author of the study. “This paper establishes what we know and suggests next steps for using the best science to evaluate the impacts of this new human activity in the deep sea.”

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