The deep sea is one of the least well-known areas on Earth, comprising multiple vulnerable ecosystems that play critical roles in the carbon cycle.
The deep sea is one of the least well-known areas on Earth, comprising multiple vulnerable ecosystems that play critical roles in the carbon cycle. However, the deep sea is directly exposed to the effects of human-induced climate change and may now face additional challenges arising from efforts to counteract climate change artificially. These efforts have evolved into geoengineering solutions that could operate on vast spatial scales.
Ocean-based climate interventions (OBCIs) are increasingly claimed as promising solutions to mitigate climate change. These interventions use different technologies to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequester the carbon in the deep sea, manage solar radiation, or produce renewable energy. However, little is known about the impacts of OBCI technologies on ocean biogeochemistry and the biodiversity of ocean ecosystems. This is true in particular for deep-sea ecosystems, which cover over 40% of the Earth and contain highly vulnerable species and ecosystems.
An international team of experts convened remotely as part of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative’s Climate Working Group to consider the deep-sea impacts of OBCI. A research team led by Dr Lisa LEVIN from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, including Dr Moriaki YASUHARA from the School of Biological Sciences and The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), has analysed the proposed approaches to assess their potential impacts on deep-sea ecosystems and biodiversity. Their findings were recently reported in the scientific journal Science raise substantial concern on the potential impacts of these technologies on deep-sea ecosystems and call for the need for an integrated research effort to carefully assess the cost and benefits of each intervention.
Read more at The University of Hong Kong
Image: Figure 1. Diverse marine life (crinoid, octocorals and sponges) on a seamount off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. (Photo credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute, FK190106, Erik Cordes Chief Scientist)