Conserving biodiversity on the mid-Atlantic ridge

A strategy for the conservation of biodiversity on mid-ocean ridges from deep-sea mining has finally been published after three years in the making (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar4313).  Led by GOBI partners at Duke University and in collaboration with over 50 experts in the fields of environmental law, deep-sea ecology, oceanography, climate change and mathematical modelling, the article sets out an adaptable framework for minimising the environmental impact of mining for polymetallic sulphides on the mid-Atlantic ridge.  To do this, the authors have applied marine reserve design principles to the distinctive biophysical environment of the mid-Atlantic ridge, as well as projected climate-induced changes in the deep sea to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the resulting reserve design.  The framework can also be applied along other mid-ocean ridge systems across the globe as a precautionary measure to protect biodiversity and ecosystem function from the predicted impacts of mining polymetallic sulphides.

 

The work described in the article forms part of a larger research effort taking place under GOBI’s IKI-funded programme of work.