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New species of marine life at an Antarctic deep-sea vent
New species of marine life at an Antarctic deep-sea vent

TEDx talk: No longer in the dark: our choice for the future of the deep ocean

For a summary of some of this week’s themes, watch this talk entitled “No longer in the dark: our choice for the future of the deep ocean” that Jon gave at a TEDxSouthamptonUniversity event (this video is an optional extra and an extract is provided below):

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

If you wish to, you can read more about the joint US-French project called FAMOUS that Jon mentions.

TEDX talk extract:

Our new-found ability to peer into and investigate the ocean depths could not be more timely. Our everyday lives have an impact on the deep ocean. When we visit new areas of the ocean floor, we often find that our rubbish has already got there: the litter that we found on our recent expedition to the Cayman Trough included soft drink cans, bottles, plastic bags, and a doormat. Meanwhile, we are extracting oil and gas, on which our economies depend, from deeper waters, but we’re still learning about the consequences of accidents in those operations. We’re also fishing in deeper waters, and trawling remote areas where marine life has yet to be surveyed. And now we’re starting to unlock the mineral wealth of the deep ocean; the long-held dream of harvesting manganese nodules from the ocean floor is finally becoming a reality, with the first extraction projects starting in the eastern Pacific. Elsewhere, the deep-sea vents that have inspired our ocean exploration are now within reach for the deposits of metals that form around them.

In the past two years, the International Seabed Authority - the United Nations body that governs seafloor mining in international waters - has awarded four new licences for mineral exploration than span several thousand kilometres of mid-ocean ridge. So in just six decades, we have gone from not knowing about the full extent of the mid-ocean ridge, to visiting it for the first time, and now parcelling up its resources…

…If we can act quickly and use our new powers of perception, we can decide how to benefit from the resources of the deep ocean while fulfilling our responsibility for its stewardship. Our species has a poor track record of achieving that balance elsewhere, so let this be our new testing ground: now that the deep ocean is no longer out of sight, it is our choice whether its future iconic images will inspire or shame us.

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