Deep sea news (10-17 October 2022)

Date: October 19, 2022

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 10-17 October 2022

Discovered in the deep: the ‘forest of the weird’

Source: The Guardian

Author: Helen Scales

“On a submerged volcano a mile and a half underwater in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a team of scientists were left gasping in wonder at a scene they called the “forest of the weird”

Scientists are only beginning to understand the wonders of ‘weird coral forests’ on the deep sea bed. Specimens such as the ‘ET sponge’ continue to baffle scientists and there are likely to be further discoveries with scientific deep sea exploration. Helen Scales brings to life past expeditions to these forests and discusses what we might expect from future discoveries. 

Battery made using seaweed still works after charging 1000 times

Source: NewScientist

Author: Matthew Sparkes

“A battery that has crucial parts made from seaweed could pave the way to greener energy storage.”

With a move towards electric power, comes a greater reliance on batteries. The minerals (such as Lithium and Cobalt) currently used to produce batteries rely on environmentally disastrous mining practices, but there could be alternate solutions. 

Evaluating deep-sea communities’ susceptibility to mining plumes using shallow-water data

Source: Science Direct

Author: J.M.A.van der Grient, J.C.Drazen

“Increased suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) are a major stressor across aquatic habitats.”

This Research paper explores the impact of sediment plumes on shallow water ecosystems and extrapolates this data to forecast the impact of deep-sea mining on deep-sea organisms.

Diversity and distribution of Kinorhyncha in abyssal polymetallic nodule areas of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone and the Peru Basin, East Pacific Ocean, with the description of three new species and notes on their intraspecific variation

Source: SpringerLink

Author: Nuria Sánchez, Alberto González-Casarrubios, Diego Cepeda, Sahar Khodami, Fernando Pardos, Annemiek Vink & Pedro Martínez Arbizu 

“Polymetallic nodule fields represent a large reservoir of undiscovered biodiversity that becomes particularly evident for meiobenthic organisms, the smallest-sized faunal group.“

Attempting to explore the large “knowledge gaps” on deep sea biodiversity, this paper looks at the smallest size of faunal group ‘low-density metazoan groups’ also known as ‘mud-dragons’. Data taken from the Clarion Clipperton Zone, an area earmarked for deep-sea mining, show a huge diversity of mud dragons. 

Labour’s mining stance bittersweet for the Greens, but a taste of victory for Te Pāti Māori

Source: Stuff

Author: Andrea Vance

“We are running out of runway to tackle global warming (even more so if next year brings a National-ACT government). But a blunt, swiftly-applied tool has never been appropriate for decisions around natural resources.”

New Zealand’s complex relationship with deep-sea mining continues as the Labour, Green and Te Pāti Māori’s grapple over mining practices. It is a matter made more fraught by the ongoing reclassifications of conservation land. 

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