How Deep-Sea Mining Threatens Fundamental Ecosystems

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
May 16, 2023, Belmont Media Center

Julie Huber, Ph.D., Senior Scientist. Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Beth Orcutt, Ph.D. Vice President for Research, Senior Research Scientist (geomicrobiology), Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Drs. Huber and Orcutt explain the vital role of marine microbial ecosystems as the foundation for all other ocean life. They lead some of the most important research on this intricate marine relationship. Problematic technologies such as deep-sea mining and carbon sequestration will create serious disruptions on these ecosystems, and the impact will inevitably extend to many other lifeforms in the marine universe. There are many concerns because these ecosystems are essential for the broader health of the planet.

Julie Huber’s research focus is the nature and extent of life on Earth in one of its least explored corners, the sub-seafloor habitat beneath the ocean floor.
Beth Orcutt's research targets the ecosystem services that microbes provide in some of the deep-sea ecosystems that are likely to be targeted for deep-sea mining and sub-seafloor carbon sequestration.

With Deep-Sea Mining, Do Microbes Stand a Chance?