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News and Updates: SETAC Journals

IEAM Call for Papers: Implications of Deep-Sea Mining on Marine Ecosystems

Monday, April 6, 2020  
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Purpose of Special Series

Deep-sea mining is emerging as a viable commercial sector because of notable technological advances in remote sensing and the ability to operate equipment under tremendous physical pressures at the bottom of the ocean. Deep-sea mining targets minerals such as copper, nickel and cobalt used for telecommunications and energy storage. Rather than digging to great depths as in surface mining, deep-sea mining involves extracting minerals over wide areas of the sea floor, leaving a vast surface footprint potentially affecting deep-sea habitats. Rules governing the deep-sea mining industry are currently being drafted by the International Seabed Authority (ISA). Before any regulations with clear guidance and limitations can be set up by the ISA or any other authority, scientific work is needed describing deep-sea ecosystems (i.e., physical, chemical and biotic conditions) to support definition of baseline conditions, set threshold values and propose performance standards. Risk assessment and impact analyses are also needed to estimate the potential negative consequences on aquatic life.

As governments prepare to set rules and deep-sea mining operations begin in the southern Pacific Ocean, now is the time to reflect on current knowledge of deep seabed ecosystems and the research needed to properly regulate and monitor deep-sea mining activities. Scientists are urging international and national authorities to recognize the need for scientific study because of the potential threat to deep-sea habitats and both rare and unique marine species. The consequences of introducing sediment clouds, noise, toxic chemicals, vibrations, and other forms of pollution into pristine environments is unknown. Some fear this may lead to the loss of undiscovered species and, in the absence of ecological understanding, confound mitigation offsets and efforts to protect biodiversity.

IEAM invites papers describing the current state of science regarding deep-sea ocean ecosystems and the likely ecological footprints, risks and consequences of deep-sea mining. Successful submissions will benefit from international visibility through publication as examples of thought leadership.

Scientists and professionals are invited to submit papers describing the environmental research needed to supplement current knowledge of deep-sea ocean ecosystems and the possible impacts of seabed mining, as well as policy solutions and practices that will aid in the implementation of industry guidance prepared by ISA and other authorities responsible for oversight of this new industry sector. Papers are invited describing new assessment and monitoring methods, management best practices and scientific research. Papers are encouraged that describe case studies, governmental policies, business strategies and science-to-policy assessments. Papers may focus on different aspects of the environmental consequences of deep-sea mining at the global, regional and national levels.

Dates to Remember

  • Commitment to participate: 1 July
  • Anticipated publication: Late 2020

Instructions for Submission

Authors intending to participate in the special series must submit a short abstract to the IEAM Editorial Office at ieam_editor@setac.org. Abstracts must include a tentative title, co-authors and brief description (max. 250 words) of the paper. Upon acceptance, authors will be invited to submit their manuscript as a Brief Communication.

Papers must conform to IEAM author guidelines. Brief Commentaries should not exceed 10 single-sided, double-spaced pages (including text, tables and figures). Papers will be independently peer-reviewed in accordance with IEAM’s double-blind review process. IEAM is published bimonthly and indexed in Journal Citation Reports and SCOPUS. Address inquires to ieam_editor@setac.org.