Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Discovery of a new group of sponges could help measure impact of deep-sea mining
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Sep 26, 2017

Plenaster craigi, this is a detailed shot of a live animal.

A completely new group of sponges has been discovered, which scientists believe could be a key indicator species in measuring future mining impact in a region targeted for deep-sea mining of polymetallic (metal-rich) nodules. They are likely to be the most abundant nodule-dwelling animal in the area.

The new discovery, described in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity, was made in the vast 5 million square kilometre region of the central Pacific Ocean known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ).

This area is incredibly rich in useful metals in the form of polymetallic nodules, potato-sized accretions of mineral that sit on the seafloor at depths of 4000-5000m. The new sponges, Plenaster craigi Lim and Wiklund, 2017 are described from the eastern region of the CCZ in exploration zones licenced to UK Seabed Resources Ltd and Ocean Mineral Singapore.

The animals were found living attached to the metal-rich nodules on two expeditions to the region in 2013 and 2015.

Sponge expert and lead author Swee-Cheng Lim from the National University of Singapore participated in the second expedition and commented, "The unique morphology of the star-shaped spicules convinced me that these were a completley new group of sponges never seen before". Dr Helena Wiklund of the Natural History Museum, London, confirmed this with a detailed DNA-based study that placed them as a new genus of sponge.

The new sponges, although small, are remarkably abundant on the food-poor abyssal seafloor at a depth of 4000m.

Principal investigator of the Deep-Sea Research Group at the Natural History Museum, Dr Adrian Glover said, "We were simply astonished to discover that the most abundant animal living on the metal-rich nodules was not only a new species, but from a new genus as well, despite the region being subject to many surveys in the past. It is clear that our taxonomic knowledge of the biodiversity in this region is still very limited".

The scientists believe that because the species is relatively easy to identify and count (now that it has been described) it could be a useful 'indicator' species to measure future mining impacts.

"The fact that this is a small filter-feeding animal sitting on these nodules just a few centimetres above the sediment makes it a clear target for impact from a deep-sea mining plume" said Dr Glover. The scientists are now undertaking more detailed genetic and population studies of the animal to better understand its potential response to deep-sea mining.

Plenaster craigi have been named after their abundant stars inside their bodes, Plenaster, and the leader of the two successful survey expeditions, Prof Craig Smith of the University of Hawaii.

Research paper

SubSea Craft to display Diver Delivery Unit at DSEI 2017
Washington (UPI) Sep 11, 2017
SubSea Craft is set to display it's high-speed submersible Diver Delivery Unit at the Defense and Security Equipment International 2017 exhibition in London according to Janes. The DDU functions as a fast speedboat for delivering special forces and cargo to shore and back with the ability to submerge for the last few miles of approach to avoid detection. It is envisaged to be capable of ... read more

Related Links
Taylor and Francis Group
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japan government not responsible for Fukushima: court

What now? Mexicans in shelters ask themselves after quake

Puerto Rico wants US aid after quake but not second-class treatment

NASA-Produced Damage Maps May Aid Mexico Quake Response

Corrosion in real time

Self-healing gold particles

'Naturally' glowing cotton yields dazzling new threads

Research team discovers 'rubber material' that could lead to scratch-proof paint for car

SubSea Craft to display Diver Delivery Unit at DSEI 2017

Lockheed invests in Ocean Aero, in greater focus on unmanned maritime systems

Climate change challenges the survival of fish across the world

Dam fails in Puerto Rico, 70,000 told to evacuate

Impact of Arctic amplification on East Asian winter climate

Wind, Warm Water Revved Up Melting Antarctic Glaciers

Ice age may have clipped bird migration

Maiden mid-air refuel ensures supplies to Antarctic research station

Syngenta chief calls for debate on 'sustainable agriculture'

At Dubai expo, Chinese firms look to tap lucrative halal market

Research finds roots use chemical 'photos' to coordinate growth

Latvia tweets no room for mushroom hunters on army base

Desperate rescue effort after Hurricane Maria toll hits 33

Hope fading for survivors as Mexico search enters third day

Anxiety as Mexico mounts last-ditch search for quake survivors

Mexico's quake-proof building codes not always respected

New ceasefire signed by armed groups

Nigerian journalist detained over report on flood camp protest

West Africa steps up battle against pirates and poachers

Pro-Biafra supporters clash with Nigerian troops

Cell phone data coupled with sewage testing show drug use patterns

Royal tomb of ancient Mayan ruler found in Guatemala

How Teotihuacan's urban design was lost and found

Huge genetic diversity among Papuan New Guinean peoples revealed

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement