Revisiting DISCOL

News date: 
July 31, 2015

For 2 months from 28 July 2015, the German research vessel RV Sonne will be carrying out ecological investigations in remote area of the Peru Basin in the Pacific Ocean. Led by scientists at GEOMAR and involving a number of MIDAS researchers, the work focuses on a circular area of seafloor some 2 nautical miles diameter that was disturbed a quarter of a century ago as part of the German project DISCOL (DISturbance and re­COLonisation experiment). The disruption of the seafloor in an area of polymetallic nodules at more than 4000 m water depth was created in 1989 by a deep-sea plough with the predecessor of the current RV Sonne and still represents the largest mining-related disturbance experiment in the world. The work carried out this summer represents the fifth post-impact study and resumes the impact assessment work in the area after a 20 year long break, and is part of the JPIOceans project "Ecological aspects of deep-sea mining", as well as contributing data to MIDAS. The main focus of the work is on the characterisation of the long-term effects of anthropogenic disturbances – as an analogue of the mining of polymetallic nodules – on deep-sea ecosystems

You can follow the progress of the RV Sonne expedition via the OceanBlogs website.

Image: RV Sonne in port in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Image courtesy J. Greinert.