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Anthropogenic Impacts on the Deep-Sea. Tyler Boucher Amy Walsh December 2 nd . 2009. Topics of Interest. Petroleum in the Deep Sea Deep Sea mining for petroleum Potential for waste disposal in the Deep Sea Specific examples of anthropogenic impacts

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Anthropogenic impacts on the deep sea l.jpg

Anthropogenic Impacts on the Deep-Sea

Tyler Boucher

Amy Walsh

December 2nd. 2009

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Topics of Interest

  • Petroleum in the Deep Sea

  • Deep Sea mining for petroleum

  • Potential for waste disposal in the Deep Sea

  • Specific examples of anthropogenic impacts

  • Potential for Deep Sea mining of manganese nodules

  • Conservation efforts

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Petroleum in the Deep Sea

  • 5-6 million tons of oil enters the ocean/yr.

  • Hydrocarbons

  • Direct toxicity

  • Behavioural changes

  • Tissue damage

  • Deep Sea organisms may handle toxins in an alternative manor

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  • Majority of hydrocarbons have an anthropogenic origin

  • Other origins are possible

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Transportation of petroleum

  • Petroleum can be transported a number of ways:

    • Spreading

    • Evaporation

    • Dissolution

    • Emulsification

    • Photochemical modification

    • Biological ingestion and excretion

    • Tar ball formation

    • Interaction of petroleum with ice

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Water Mass Transport

  • Pollutants move with the body of water

    • North Atlantic

    • Weddell sea

    • Circumpolar Antarctic

  • Rip currents and turbidity flows can carry sediments and associated oil to the deep sea

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Biological Transportation

  • Transport by fecal pellets

  • Transport by exoskeletons

  • Transport by vertical migrators

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Interactions between petroleum and particulate matter

  • Formation of solid or liquid particles of hydrocarbons

  • Sorption of hydrocarbons

  • Flocculation of suspended , colloidal or dissolved hydrocarbons

  • Formation of solid or liquid particles of hydrocarbons

  • Sorption of hydrocarbons

  • Flocculation of suspended , colloidal or dissolved hydrocarbons

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Biological effects

  • Microorganisms

  • Fish and crustaceans

  • Metabolism

  • Physiology

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Potential for deep-sea mining of Petroleum

  • Crude Oil – hydrocarbons

    • Heating of OM over geological time scales

  • Oil Reservoirs need:

    • Source rock rich in hydrocarbons

    • Porous and permeable reservoir rock

    • Cap rock (seal)

  • Hydrocarbons trapped in porous reservoirs, liquids can be mined

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Emery, 1979

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  • 2. Small Deep Marginal Basins

    • Convergent continental margins

    • Origin from subsidence of area between island arc and adjacent continent (Bering Sea, Mediterranean Sea)

    • High OM, sedimentation rates, abundant coarse-grained sediments = Excellent source and reservoir beds

  • 3. Continental rise

    • High amounts of sediment accumulation from turbidity currents and pelagic “raining down”

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Potential waste disposal

  • Nuclear power is abundant and inexpensive

  • Resulting radioactive waste is dangerous

  • Radioactive waste is increasing

  • Isolation of radioactive waste is necessary

  • Waste has a long half-life

  • Disposal can be an issue

  • The ocean could provide a solution to the radioactive waste

    • Inexpensive

    • Large area

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  • The ocean may work for burial of waste under the correct conditions:

    • Geological stability

    • Low biological productivity

    • Minimal economic value

    • Large area

    • Stable climate

    • Sediment medium with high retention abilities

    • Remote area

  • Under the correct conditions the deposited waste could remain outside of the biosphere for the duration of the half-life

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  • Other considerations must be taken into account to make an educated decision

    • Disturbance from the burial

    • Heat from decaying waste

  • What could happen if the waste reaches the biosphere?

    • Disturbances to organisms

  • Much more information is needed

    • Experimentation

    • May still be too complex to understand fully

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Trace Metals in Deep Sea Sharks from the Rockall Trough educated decision

  • Vas and Gordon, 1993.

  • Western edge of European continental shelf

  • Examined tissue specimens of 13 species of shark from various bathymetric zones

  • Interested in tissue concentrations of Cu, Mn, Ni

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Results educated decision

  • Cu

    • In ¼ of all tissue samples

    • Highest concentrations in skin tissue samples of upper slope shark species

    • Relationship between concentration and trophic behaviour

  • Mn

    • 22% of all tissue samples

    • Almost all contained <1.5 µg/g

    • Highest concentrations in gill and vertebral tissues

D. calceus,

E. spinax,

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  • Ni educated decision

    • In 45% of all samples

    • Highest concentrations in skin and vertebral tissue samples

    • Extremely high in muscle tissue and gonads of D.Calceus.

    • Little variation with depth

  • General Trends and Explanations

    • Concentrations decrease with increasing depth

    • Higher concentrations in external tissues

      • Exposure to anthropogenic inputs from land

    • Vertebrae tissue- only samples with all metals accumulated

      • Link between calcification and metal uptake? (Wright, 1977).

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Blindness in Vent Shrimp educated decision

  • Herring et al. (1999)

  • Rimicaris exoculata and Mirocaris fortunata

  • Inhabitants of Deep Sea vents

  • Accustomed to low light settings

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Herring, et al., 1999

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Deep Ocean Mining blindness

  • Manganese nodules **

    • Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn

    • ~10 kg/m² (Bath and Greger, 1988).

    • Hydrogenous, biogenic, hydrothermal, diagenetic, & halmyrolitic formation

    • Few mm.̸million yrs.

  • Metalliferous muds

  • Volcanegenic sulphide deposits

  • Fertilizer resources

  • Pharmaceuticals – marine bioprospecting

Minami-torishima Island,

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Potential manganese nodule mining concept (Oebius et al., 2001)

  • System 1Surface Mining Platform

  • System 2Lift Pipe

  • System 3The Miner

    • Carriers

    • Collectors

    • German VWS-Berlin hybrid collector

  • System 4Waste Water re-circulation

  • Cloud

Oebius et al., 2001

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Impacts of mining processes 2001)

  • Extraction from bottom

    • 1000 tons ̸day nodules=4000 tons̸day sediment

    • Extreme direct disturbance on benthic fauna

    • Benthic plumes form, suffocation

    • Transport with currents, widespread effect

  • Impact in water column

    • Discharge forms 2nd plume

    • Limit light penetration, primary production

    • Affects food chain

    • Bacterial uptake of oxygen

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Impacts of mining processes 2001)

  • Could take up to 1000 yrs for communities to be restored

  • Dumping of metal residues, highly toxic to marine organisms

  • Acids, toxic metals, trace elements

  • Long-term exposure to heavy metals

  • Bioaccumulation

  • Some proposed mining sites are also fishing locations

  • Attraction of deep-sea organisms to mining apparatus or plumes

  • Disrupted spawning

  • Site selection important

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Global Conservation 2001)

  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

    • Provide refuges for recovery and growth

    • Entire ecosystems

    • Build resilient communities, preservation

    • Increase biodiversity

    • Increase fishing resources

  • Strong importance in the deep sea

    • Unique habitats

    • Endemic species

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Global Conservation 2001)

  • 5. Rockall Bank

  • Upwelling leading to rich planktonic life

  • 130 fish species

  • Cold water coral communities

  • Trawling of deep-water fish a threat

  • 6. Rockall Trough/Channel

  • Cold water corals

  • Rich deep sea fish communities

  • Carbonate mound fields

  • 8. BIOTRANS abyssal plain

  • Deep-sea mud research

  • Very high benthic fauna diversity

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Global Conservation 2001)

  • Need to form rules, regulations, and procedures

  • Establish regular monitoring program

  • Suspension of activities in presence of serious environmental harm

  • Decisions to proceed accompanied with protection plans

  • International collaborations

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Additonal References 2001)

  • Emery, K.O. 1979. Potential for deep-ocean petroleum. Ambio Sp. Rep. 6:87-92.

  • Nature. 398(6723): 116.

  • Herring, P.J., Gaten, E., Shelton, P.M.J. 1999. Are vent shrimps blinded by science?

  • Hessler, R.R., Jumars, P.A. 1979. The relation of benthic communities to radioactive waste disposal in the deep sea. Ambio Sp. Rep. 6:93-96.

  • Hjalmar, T. and G.Shriever. 1990. Deep-Sea Mining, Environmental Impact and the DISCOL project. Ambio, 19(5): 245-250.

  • Karinen, J.F. 1980. Petroleum in the deep see environment: Potential for damage to biota. Environ. Int. 3(2): 135-144.

  • Oebius, H.U. et al., 2001. Parameterization and evaluation of anthropogenic marine environmental impacts produced by deep-sea manganese nodules mining. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 48(17-18): 3453-3467

  • Vas, P., Gordon, J.D.M. 1993. Trace metals in deep-sea sharks from the Rockall Trough. Mar. Poll. Bull. 26(7): 400-402.