New Species Found in Deep-Sea Mining Zone
Biologists have discovered more than 5,000 new species of marine life in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), an untouched seabed in the Pacific Ocean spanning nearly 2 million square miles between Hawaii and Mexico. Remarkably, approximately 90 percent of the species are entirely new to science. In a paper published in the journal Current Biology, scientists provided the first list of CCZ species, although most of them have not yet been named or described. The checklist focuses on multicellular animals dwelling on the ocean floor.
This research is crucial for assessing the potential consequences of deep-sea mining in the CCZ. The seafloor is rich with cobalt, manganese, nickel, copper and zinc—minerals critical to renewable energy technologies. Already, 31 exploration contracts have been awarded to several mining companies. Excavation in the CCZ has not yet begun, and scientists, activists and governments have urged caution until researchers are able to evaluate and better understand the impact that mining would have on this unique marine ecosystem.