Recovery of Paleodictyon patterns after simulated mining activity on Pacific nodule fields.

Boehringer, Lilian, Ramalho, Sofia P., Marcon, Yann, Boetius, Antje, Cuvelier, Daphne and Purser, Autun (2021) Recovery of Paleodictyon patterns after simulated mining activity on Pacific nodule fields. Open Access Marine Biodiversity, 51 (6). Art.Nr. 97. DOI 10.1007/s12526-021-01237-1.

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Since the late 1980s, various experiments have been conducted in polymetallic nodule fields of the Pacific Ocean to assess the potential environmental impacts of future mining, specifically in two areas: the Peru Basin and the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ). Two expeditions, SO242/2 in 2015 (Peru Basin) and SO268/1 + 2 in 2019 (CCZ), deployed a towed camera system to collect imagery from both areas. These expeditions aimed to assess recovery of fauna in the short (few weeks) and long term (several years) following physical seafloor disturbance actions designed to mimic potential mining, by ploughs, dredges and epibenthic sleds. Within the collected image data, several strikingly hexagonal hole patterns were observed and identified as Paleodictyon nodosum , and an irregular form of Paleodictyon traces, both on undisturbed and disturbed areas of seafloor. Recent forms occur abundantly in various deep-sea regions, but their origin, and how they represent the mode of life of the forming organism, remains unknown. In this study, the imaged occurrences of Paleodictyon traces on disturbed seafloor sheds light on the lifecycle of the forming organism, demonstrating that they can recolonize disturbed habitat and produce the trace network in a few weeks. Nevertheless, the density of these patterns on disturbed substrates was lower than observed on undisturbed substrates in both nodule regions. We therefore hypothesize that, along with other benthic deep-sea fauna, these structures and the forming organism are impacted by physical seafloor disturbance, and even 26 years after disturbance, densities on disturbed sediments have not recovered to undisturbed levels.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: BMBF:03F0707A-G ; info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/603418
Keywords: Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone · DISCOL Experimental Area · Deep-sea benthos · Deep-sea mining · Lebensspuren · Graphoglyptids
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Related URLs:
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact, MIDAS
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2021 08:13
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 09:54

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