Researchers from Senckenberg am Meer (Senckenberg by the Sea) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources developed a new method intended for establishing protection zones for the deep-sea fauna in the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone.
The abyssal plain is earmarked for the potential extraction of manganese nodules. In their study, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, the team advocates the timely establishment of preservation zones from which deep-sea species can recolonise destroyed areas.
The deep sea is a habitat with an extremely high biodiversity, yet, compared with many near-shore habitats, it is only inhabited by few members of any individual species. Therefore, the distribution of the meiofauna – animals smaller than one millimetre that live in the sediment – is highly variable. MORE
Header image: Although they cannot be seen, thousands of small organisms smaller than 1 mm occur below 100 ccm of sediment of the abyssal seafloor, the habitat of benthic meiofauna in the polymetallic nodule belt in the Pacific. The large organisms are a brittle stars and a sponge. Credit: Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, BGR.