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Deep-Sea Mining of Polymetallic Nodules: Environmental Baselines and Mining Impacts from the Surface to the Seafloor

Image credits from left to right: Sediment plume – UH DeepCCZ project (2018); Star like sponge – UH DeepCCZ project (2018); Rattail fish swimming over a bed of nodules – UH/JAMSTEC in association with The Metals Company (2022); Yellow gummy-squirrel sea cucumber - Ifremer, Nodinaut (2004)

Jeff Drazen, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Jeroen Ingels, Florida State University
Jessica Fitzsimmons, Texas A&M University

As the Anthropocene progresses, the possibility of polymetallic nodule mining in the deep sea draws nearer, in both international waters and in nations’ exclusive economic zones. However, our understanding of the baseline conditions and dynamic properties of these remote environments, a prerequisite to future detection of mining impacts, remains limited. For this special Elementa Feature we welcome all studies investigating abyssal and water column ecosystem baselines and mining trial impact studies in polymetallic nodule mining zones. We particularly encourage submission of integrative studies across different biotas and environmental conditions to provide solid descriptions of the state and dynamics of these ecosystems. In addition, we envisage studies using different scientific disciplines to address meaningful questions about the nature and mechanics of nodule mining impacts, the repercussions for biodiversity and ecosystem function across various spatial and temporal scales, and the ability of these systems to recover.

Should you wish to submit your study to this special feature, please log in here. In the submission process you will be asked to provide the special feature name “Deep-sea Mining of Polymetallic Nodules”.

Submission deadline: September 30, 2024

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