The exploitation of minerals has created serious conflicts on our planet. And it also has space to do potentially. Now a new problem is added: underwater tunnels. There is a huge and mineral-rich area in the Pacific Ocean, about twice the size of India, called the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), which has already been divided and divided by companies for future mining. The “problem” is that there more than 5,000 unknown species to knowledge
In order to better understand what is at stake when societies in this region of the ocean are overwhelmed, a team of scientists led by Muriel Rabone, an ecologist at the Natural History Museum in London, created the first “health spot” CCZ “making records of all species”. from expeditions into the former region of research. Estimates of the diversity of CCZ species, published in Current Biology, include a total of 5,578 different species found in the region, of which it is estimated between 88% and 92% are completely new to science.
The CCZ, stretching six million square kilometers from Hawaii to Mexico, is one of the most pristine deserts in the global ocean. To study it, the scientists analyzed samples obtained from previous campaigns.
“We share” The incredible biodiversity of this entire planet and we have the responsibility to understand and protect it – says Rabone -. And the result of the exploration was incredible: in both cases we saw a core sample of new species.
when dividing more than 100,000 creature records in CCZ During these deep-sea expeditions, Rabon’s team discovered only six new species found in the CCZ, which include sea cucumbers, nematodes and carnivorous sponges, that have been seen in other regions. They also found that the most abundant types of animals in the CCZ are arthropods (invertebrates with articulated joints), worms, echinoderms (spiny invertebrates such as sea urchins), and sponges.
“There are some species there that are simply memorable. Some of the sponges are like classic sponges, and some are like vases. They are simply beautiful – adds Rabone –. One of my favorites are glass sponges. They have these spines and under the microscope; they look like small sculptures of chandeliers“. Going forward, the team emphasizes the importance of increasing research efforts in the region for a deeper understanding of the biodiversity of the region to better understand, for example, why certain species are clustered in particular geological regions.
“There are so many amazing species in the CCZ and when looking at the possibility of mining, it’s doubly important. Let us know about these habitats He really studied very little,” concludes Rabone.