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 (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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