Our Impacts on the Deep

I could write about a detailed account of a new study in PLoS One.  I could discuss how the researchers imported information on the spatial extent of marine scientific research, submarine communication cables, radioactive waste disposal, munitions and chemical weapons waste disposal, military operations, oil and gas industry, and bottom trawling OSPAR maritime area of the North East Atlantic. I could also mention that this is the first explicit analysis of the extent of human impacts on the deep sea. But those would just cloud the point you should take home.

The study estimated the total area of physical imprint in just 2005 in the just OSPAR area to be around 28,000 km2. The activity with the greatest spatial impact…bottom trawling. This estimate doesn’t even consider that most of the areas were trawled 2-3 times over the year.

Benn, A., Weaver, P., Billet, D., van den Hove, S., Murdock, A., Doneghan, G., & Le Bas, T. (2010). Human Activities on the Deep Seafloor in the North East Atlantic: An Assessment of Spatial Extent PLoS ONE, 5 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012730

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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