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Deep Sea Mining. via Ocean Unite

World - NSU Researcher Part of Team Addressing Potential Risks to Marine Life from Deep-Sea Mining

FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. – As the planet’s land-based natural resources become exhausted, the need for new sources is bringing the search to the deepest parts of the world’s oceans. And that has researchers across the globe very concerned.

“Our concerns are the repercussions to rest of the ocean when mining the sea floor,” said Tracey Sutton, Ph.D., a research scientist and professor at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Halmos College of Arts and Sciences. “The impacts to the water column above the area being mined must be considered, particularly what discharge of unwanted material from surface processing will do to marine life within that water column. In essence, the effects can only be negative. The question then becomes, how negative and on what scale?”

Dr. Sutton is on the research team that conducted a new study on deep-sea mining, led by University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa researchers. This study argues that deep-sea mining poses significant risks, not only to the area immediately surrounding mining operations but also to the water hundreds to thousands of feet above the seafloor, threatening vast midwater ecosystems. Further, the scientists suggest how these risks could be evaluated more comprehensively to enable society and managers to decide if and how deep-sea mining should proceed.

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