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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Marine Life Talk: Mining in the deep sea and the protection of marine life  Seminar

1 September 2011
National Oceanography Centre Southampton

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone National Oceanography Centre Southampton on +44 (0)23 8059 6666 .

Event details

The deep ocean holds a wealth of minerals. As minerals become more scarce on land, attention is turning to resources in the ocean.

Deep-sea mineral deposits include billions of potato-sized manganese nodules littering the seafloor, massive accretions at hydrothermal vents, crusts on the flanks of undersea mountains, and mineral-laden sediments. Some of these deposits have taken millions of years to form. Each resource is associated with different types of marine life. Mining by its nature is destructive, so how can we protect marine life while generating the elements needed for so many appliances in our homes?

This talk reviews the different types of ocean mineral deposits, the animals that live in and around them, and the issues being hotly debated about deep-sea mining and social responsibility.

Further information

This talk is open to members of the public, staff and students. Admission is free.

Visitors attending the talk should arrive at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton at 7.15pm to be met in Reception.

The National Oceanography Centre Southampton can be reached via Dock Gate 4 (between Town Quay and Ocean Village).

Arrangements for wheelchairs must be made in advance. Unless it is possible to descend via the stairs in an emergency, access to upper floors cannot be permitted as lifts are automatically immobilised when the fire alarm is activated.

Speaker information

David Billet,David Billett is a deep-sea ecologist with over 35 years experience of working in the deep-sea environment. He has a particular interest in studying long-term change in the deep-sea and the potential effects of climate change, distinguishing between natural and man-made change, and ensuring sound environmental management of man’s activities in the deep ocean. Current projects include Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impacts on European Seas (HERMIONE), Ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (ECOMAR), climate change on the deep-sea floor (Oceans 2025), deep-sea observatories (ESONET, EuroSITES), and the consequences of natural iron fertilisation in the oceans (CROZEX). David is the Chairman of the United Nations International Seabed Authority’s Legal and Technical Commission with particular responsibility for ensuring that potential mining activities in the deep ocean (polymetallic nodules, ferromanganese-rich cobalt crusts and polymetallic nodules) minimise their environmental impact on deep-sea ecosystems. David has participated on and led over 40 research cruises. His research focuses on the lives of large invertebrates that wander about on the ocean floor, in particular the sea cucumbers, seastars, brittle stars and sea urchins. His research has shown that the deep seabed three miles deep is closely coupled to processes at the sea surface. He is now working on how productivity in the global ocean regulates the present-day distributions of deep-sea life.

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