“Establishing ecological baselines in the deep sea allows us to track changes over time and better understand the consequences of human actions,” said Chief Scientist Dr. Lisa Levin, a professor of biological oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Check out some of the magnificent sights documented by ROV SuBastian during this expedition.
The goal of the expedition was to establish mineral and biological baselines in the area known as the southern California Borderland, which has the potential for deep sea mining. The area contains rare earth marine minerals such as ferromanganese and phosphorite that are used in the manufacture of electronics, electric car batteries, solar panels, and other green technologies. Scientists collected more than 300 samples of seafloor rocks, sediment, seawater, and marine invertebrates to better understand the ecology, mineral and microbial makeup of the relatively unexplored deep-sea system. In collecting samples, researchers also hope to evaluate the therapeutic or drug discovery potential of deep-sea microbes found in mineral-rich areas. “We are just beginning to understand the valuable resources of our ocean ecosystem,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “We can’t protect what we don’t know and understand, and the human impact on our ocean over the past 75 years has had a detrimental effect on its health and on the many ocean systems that support life on land.”
More in the press release from the expedition, HERE.