More than 5,000 new species found at future mining hotspot in the Pacific

New study: Over 5,000 new species found in Pacific Future Mining Hotspot

By DPG Editorial Board, May 26, 2023 @ 10:30 a.m. (EST)
Source: Science everyday

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there is a vast expanse of pristine wilderness known as the Clarion-Clipperton Area (CCZ), discovered in 1950. Managed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the area is being considered for deep-sea mining due to the rich presence of minerals—about six billion tons of manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt. ISA has issued 19 exploration licenses in the area.

Now, a team of biologists trying to understand what could be at risk when companies start mining has compiled all the species records from previous research expeditions to the CCZ. , concluded that a total of 5,578 different species were found in the area. They estimate that 88% to 92% of these are new to science.

“We share this planet with all this amazing biodiversity and we have it,” said Muriel Rabone, a deep-sea ecologist at London’s Natural History Museum and lead author of the study. responsibility to understand and protect it. Research in Current Biology. “There are some remarkable species down there. Some sponges look like classic bath sponges, and some look like vases. They are beautiful.” Rabone and her co-authors found that the most common types of animals in the CCZ were arthropods, worms, echinoderms, and sponges.

NGOs and governments are calling for a global ban on deep-sea mining until we know more about the potential environmental impacts.

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