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WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION.

ME - Deep-sea research bolstered with $2 million grant

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has been awarded $2 million by the National Science Foundation to lead an international effort to accelerate scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of emerging industries in the deep sea - one of the most mysterious, and potentially lucrative, areas of the ocean.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has been awarded $2 million by the National Science Foundation to lead an international effort to accelerate scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of emerging industries in the deep sea - one of the most mysterious, and potentially lucrative, areas of the ocean.

The five-year Crustal Ocean Biosphere Research Accelerator project aims to identify the potential environmental costs of deep-sea activities to inform the policies that will govern them. It will connect diverse science and policy experts in industry, academia, and private institutes in a race against the clock to guide responsible use of these fragile environments.

The deep seafloor covers two-thirds of Earth's surface area. While humans have only explored a tiny fraction of it, it has been a source of remarkable discoveries. It is home to complex networks of organisms, from microbes to fish, that can exist miles below the ocean surface in underwater canyons, mountain chains, and volcanoes.

The region has potential for industry and even climate change mitigation. It is a prospective source of rare and valuable metals that are used in many modern electronics, such as smartphones and electric cars. As demand for these finite resources has increased, countries around the world have begun to eye up the seafloor with increased interest. Some also see the region as a stable place to store carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the atmosphere where it accelerates global warming.


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