To read an article at the LiveScience.com website entitled, "Most Vulnerable Deep-Sea Habitats Identified" please click on the following link: http://www.livescience.com/15358-climate-change-biggest-impact-deep-sea.html From the article: "a team of more than 20 scientists has found which human impacts are having the most deleterious effects on the deep sea and which will be most important in the future. They also identify the specific deep-sea habitats most vulnerable to human impact."
A link to the scientific article which the LiveScience content is based upon and which is entitled,
Man and the Last Great Wilderness: Human Impact on the Deep Sea, is:
This scientific article has been summarized at the escience.news.com website in the following manner:
"In the past, the main human impact affecting deep-sea ecosystems was the dumping or disposal of litter into the oceans. These activities were banned in 1972, but their consequences are still present today, together with the continuing illegal disposal of litter from ships and the arrival of litter and contaminants from coastal areas and river discharges. In particular, the accumulation of plastics on the deep seafloor, which degrade into microplastics, called mermaid tears, that can be ingested by the fauna, has consequences still unknown but predicted to be important."
"Currently, and because of the reduction of resources on land and in shallow waters, the largest direct impacts come from the exploitation of deep-sea resources and, in particular, from fisheries. In the future, however, the authors of this study predict that the most pervasive impacts may come from ocean acidification and climate change, which act at the global scale and can have important effects from surface waters to the abyssal seafloor. Some of these effects include an increase in water temperature that can cause important changes in stratification of the water column, accumulation of nutrients, and oceanic water circulation with corresponding alteration of hypoxia and faunal community structure."
"Most importantly, the authors predict synergies amongst certain anthropogenic impacts and, in particular, between climate change and activities such as resource exploitation, wherein combined impacts may be particularly deleterious to deep-sea faunal communities."
"According to the experts, seamounts, cold-water corals, upper margin slopes and submarine canyons are the habitats most likely to be affected by anthropogenic impacts in the short and mid time scale. The activities that may be of highest impact are deepwater fishing together with climate change and ocean acidification, as well as the accumulation of marine litter and chemical pollutants. The authors also highlight other activities that may put at risk deep-sea communities in the near future: mineral extraction at hydrothermal vents and possibly on abyssal plains."
"The main problem is that we still know very little of what we call the deep sea, making it difficult to evaluate accurately the real impact of industrial activities, litter accumulation and climate change in the deep sea habitats. The deep sea is considered to expand from the end of the continental shelf at approximately 200-250 m depth to the great abyssal depths between 3000 and 6000 m, which may reach down to 11 km in areas such as the Mariana Trench." (source:http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/08/02/man.and.last.great.wilderness.human.impact.deep.sea )
So now we know which deep-sea areas are most vulnerable to human behaviors, we also know which human activities are the reason why these deep sea-areas are vulnerable. It is time we change our behavior to not only make sure that these deep-sea areas do not become damaged but also to help the levels of the ocean above the deep sea, because many of these human activities have been linked to damage in these levels!
Source of image:http://marinebio.org/i/deepsea.jpg