A sea cucumber crawls over a deep sea sediment at 4000 m depth.
A sea cucumber crawls over a deep sea sediment at 4000 m depth targeted for mining of battery metals such as cobalt and nickel. The ore, polymetallic nodules, are visible covering the surface.
Photo: Craig Smith/ABYSSLINE

DeepCCZ – Biodiversity of Poorly Known Deep-sea Areas Targeted for Seafloor Mining

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Marine Sciences

Short description

The abyssal plains cover roughly 70% of the global seabed and are the biggest habitat on Earth’s surface. These seafloor habitats remain among the most poorly studied on the planet because they are remote and require specialist equipment to study. Yet they may harbor an extraordinary diversity of organisms ranging from giant sea cucumbers to novel bacteria.

The research project and cruise, dubbed the DeepCCZ Expedition, is the first to study the wealth of organisms on seafloor plains and seamounts in areas currently designated as “no-mining areas” in the western Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the central Pacific Ocean.

A major goal is to determine whether these protected areas are adequate to conserve the biodiversity in the region from the destructive activities of seafloor mining.