In 1872 the HMS Challenger left Portsmouth in the UK on a four-year circumnavigation of the globe to explore the deepsea.
It was a scientific voyage of discovery that has since been recognised as the origin of deepsea science and modern oceanography. Such was its significance that scientists still examine specimens gathered on that trip, write papers referencing Challenger findings, and use sampling equipment that would not have been unfamiliar to their 19th Century counterparts.
All the main Fisheries Advisory Councils to the EU Commission have said that deep-sea mining is neither sustainable nor compatible with the European Green Deal and should be stopped.
Providing advice to the EU Commissioner for Oceans and Fisheries on his response to the Green Deal, the Advisory Councils from across Europe said “Certain activities, such as deep-sea mining, oil and gas extraction or similar, are incompatible with the objectives of a sustainable Blue Economy and will need to be stopped altogether.”
The EU Green Deal, published in December 2019, sets out the Commission’s commitment to tackling climate and environment related challenges with a view to implementing a new growth strategy for a resource-efficient and competitive economy. The Commissioner for Ocean and Fisheries was tasked with integrating a vision for a Blue Economy into the plan with a focus on three areas: Preserving marine natural capital; Sharing profits and investing in innovation; Providing benefits to present and future generations.
The Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC); Market Advisory Council (MAC); Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC); North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC); North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC); and the Pelagic Advisory Council (PELAC) published a joint response which was additionally supported by the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC); Black Sea Advisory Council (BlSAC); South Western Waters Advisory Council (SWWAC); and the Outermost Regions Advisory Council (CCRUP).
These Advisory Councils provide expertise in fisheries, aquaculture, processing, trading and retailing.
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), which opposes plans to commence commercial deep-sea mining due to its lasting impact on vulnerable marine ecosystem services and wildlife, applauded the Councils for their action. Sian Owen, Coordinator of the DSCC said, “This is important recognition about the devastating impact deep-sea mining will have on the ocean and its ability to provide us with so many important goods and services, including climate mitigation. The Councils’ voice adds to the growing global opposition to deep sea mining. There is no room for a dinosaur industry in a modern, Green-Blue world.”
Thanks to sophisticated submarines scouting the ocean’s depths nonstop, bizarre creatures are constantly coming to light. This siphonophore, for example, was so odd scientists described it as having a “UFO-like” feeding posture. Now, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has released a new video of sea creatures from the ocean’s “Midnight Zone.” And while they’re indeed alien-like, many of them are also quite… nerdy?
In otherwise energetic deserts at the bottom of the sea, researchers have found oases where microbes can harvest energy. Remarkably, the microbes first have to be buried under starving conditions for 80,000 years. An international group of researchers, amongst them José Mogollón from the Insitute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University, has published this finding in PNAS.
The last million years of Earth history have been characterized by frequent “glacial-interglacial cycles,” large swings in climate that are linked to the growing and shrinking of massive, continent-spanning ice sheets. These cycles are triggered by subtle oscillations in Earth’s orbit and rotation, but the orbital oscillations are too subtle to explain the large changes in climate.