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Panel to Discuss Deep-Sea Mining at AAAS Meeting

Home to an immense diversity of marine life, the deep ocean also contains valuable minerals with metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, and gold, and rare-earth elements used in electronic technology like smart phones and medical imaging machines. As demand for these resources increases and supplies on land decrease, commercial mining operators are looking to the deep ocean as the next frontier for mining.

Long-Distance Larvae Speed to New Undersea Vent Homes

Working in a rare, “natural seafloor laboratory” of hydrothermal vents that had just been rocked by a volcanic eruption, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and other institutions have discovered what they believe is an undersea superhighway carrying tiny life forms unprecedented distances to inhabit the post-eruption site.

Seafloor bacteria are multi-tasking with the carbon cycle

Scientists have long known that microorganisms can use one of two different methods to convert carbon dioxide into a form that living things can use for energy. What they didn’t know until recently is that at least one form of bacteria can switch between these two “carbon fixation” pathways or use them both at the same time—a fundamental discovery for scientists who believe such bacteria played a role in the evolution of life on Earth.

New Technology for New Exploration of Hydrothermal Vents

Advances in undersea imaging systems, the development of new vehicles and instruments, and improved seafloor mapping capabilities have enabled scientists to explore areas of the deep sea in unprecedented detail.

Diving to the Rosebud Vents - Galápagos Rift

In 2002, researchers diving in the submersible Alvin returned to the Galápagos Rift, a mid-ocean ridge about 250 miles from the Galápagos Islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean where hydrothermal vents and exotic organisms were first found in 1977.

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