|Deep-sea environmental disturbance and recovery potential|
Thiel, H. (1992). Deep-sea environmental disturbance and recovery potential. Int. Rev. gesamten Hydrobiol. 77(2): 331-339
In: Internationale Revue der gesamten Hydrobiologie. Wiley-VCH: Berlin. ISSN 0020-9309
Aquatic communities > Benthos
Mining > Offshore operations > Deep-sea mining
Temporal variations > Long-term changes
Mining the abyssal seafloor for manganese nodules will destroy the hard substrate and it will severely disturb the seabed and the benthic soft substrate community. Recolonization will occur from unmined areas. Reestablishment of a community similar to that originally present is, however, not possible, since the nodules will be removed and epigrowth on hard substrates is thereby precluded. Small scale experiments using azoic sediment in trays exposed to ambient deep-sea conditions, may not be appropriate models for large scale recolonization processes. Results of such experiments and general knowledge of deep-sea ecology suggest that decades may be required for reestablishment of a balanced community. With respect to evaluation of some ecological consequences of mining an ongoing large scale experiment, termed DISCOL (DIS-turbance and re-COL-onization) is shortly described as a new approach in deep-sea risk assessment.