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The prospect is seen to be mutually beneficial to both the industry and the science partners, and ultimately of significant value to societal needs not least in relation to climate change, and tsunami and seismic early warning Howe and Workshop Participants, Knowing the depth, shape and character of the seafloor is fundamental for ocean science and has been identified by the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development as a major research and development priority for — IOC, Seafloor bathymetry is a foundational dataset for understanding ocean circulation, tides, tsunami forecasting, fishing resources, environmental change, underwater geo-hazards, cable and pipeline routing, mineral extraction, oil and gas exploration and development, and infrastructure construction and maintenance.
The current ocean exploration survey methodology includes multi-beam bathymetric data collection and making initial observations and assessments of living and non-living marine resources using conventional midwater acoustics and near-bottom imagery and sensing. The ocean exploration mapping survey approach plays a unique role in the discovery and initial characterization of lesser-known areas of the ocean and particularly the deeper regions, which are difficult to access.
A coordinated international effort is needed to bring together existing ocean data sets and identify areas for future exploration and mapping surveys. Figure 4.
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World map of currently available hi-resolution bathymetric data. The larger ocean science community, including governments, industry, and academia recognize the need for ocean mapping information and are working together on initiatives to collect new mapping data and to make archived data publicly available in standardized formats. GEBCO is an international group of mapping experts developing a range of bathymetric data sets and data products. The Seabed Project will apply GOOS concepts and establish distributed regional data assembly and coordination centers that will identify existing data from their assigned regions that are not currently in publicly available databases and seek to make these data available.
They will also develop protocols for data collection and common tools to assemble and attribute metadata by regional grids using standardized techniques. The GEBCO Seabed Project will encourage and help coordinate and track new survey efforts and facilitate the development of new and innovative technologies to increase the efficiency of seafloor mapping and help to achieve the ambitious goals of the project. A similar effort is needed that can be expanded to include a limited set of variables that could be systematically collected and complement bathymetry to provide an initial characterization of the deep-sea environment.
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Deep-ocean biodiversity and the services it supports is an increasing focus of both the conservation community aligned with sustainable development and an emerging bioprospecting industry. Deep-ocean biodiversity underpins key support functions and ecosystem services provided by the deep ocean Duffy and Stachowicz, ; Snelgrove et al. Included among these are the sequestration and burial of carbon, the remineralization and cycling of nutrients, and the provision of habitat, nursery grounds, food, and refugia for living resources Thurber et al.
Biodiversity, as an irreplaceable entity, also has intrinsic or inherent value, independent of its service to people Harrington et al. A growing mandate for biodiversity observation in the deep ocean emerges not only from human curiosity, but also from a desire for sustainability in the face of intensifying or new human activities that generate disturbance such as bottom fishing, energy extraction, cable laying, and potentially seabed mining Ramirez-Llodra et al.
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These practices, and the negotiation of a new international biodiversity treaty Wright et al. New stakeholders in deep-ocean biodiversity observation include those entities mandated to protect the marine environment by UNCLOS Table 1 , e. Investigators around the world routinely collect, analyze, and publish data for specific studies or to further scientific knowledge in areas of interest.
Collectively, these data represent a vast amount of measurements that, more often than not, could be repurposed. Here we describe two examples of the integration between different communities scientific disciplines, and observation networks, hazard monitoring, offshore industry that allow for the innovative use of existing datasets for applications other than what was originally intended. Deep-ocean Assessment and Recording of Tsunami DART measurements are routinely made to detect tsunamis in the deep ocean and serve as the basis for warning coastal populations at the time of tsunami propagation.
These data represent years, sometimes decades, of consecutive time series of highly resolved pressure and temperature in areas of the deep ocean for which measurements are scarce. Bottom pressure measurements have been repurposed to validate satellite altimetry measurements and improve global tide models Ray, Measurements made as part of the GRACE in particular, were instrumental in investigating the main processes that affect variability of pressure in the deep ocean Chambers and Willis, Initial comparisons of GRACE-derived bottom pressure from altimetry with bottom pressure from the Ocean Model for Circulation and Tides highlighted sampling interval shortcomings that in turn led to both improved data analysis and greater interest in the use of DART bottom pressure sampled every 15 s.
Williams et al. In addition to the use of bottom pressure for investigations into ocean processes, recent investigations into the sonification of bottom pressure time series have shown promise in identifying an earthquake signature in advance of rupture McKinney personal communication.
Temperature data recorded by DART systems are being used by investigators for validation of global models and to identify climate variability signatures in the deep ocean. The spatial and temporal scales of use of these data, however, are limited due to a calibration process that prohibits inter-record comparisons. Another example involves assimilation and analysis of the Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS data which are being explored to quantify seafloor displacement as a new approach to rapid characterization of a tsunami source.
Underwater video and still images are routinely collected by ROVs during offshore energy industry operations as part of site surveys and inspections of infrastructure and are usually retained indefinitely by operating companies. Although not intended for scientific research, industry video and images can be repurposed to provide data on a range of biological, ecological and oceanographic variables in areas that are challenging for independent research Gates et al. Industry video and images have already provided information on the distribution of threatened species Gass and Roberts, , productivity of offshore ecosystems for commercial fishes McLean et al.
Existing media archives could be used to investigate longer-term processes occurring in ocean ecosystems. The offshore energy industry already holds millions of hours of underwater video, covering decades of offshore operation and spanning a broad range of ocean environments, from shallow coastal margins to the deep sea Macreadie et al.
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This collection could be used to investigate the effects of environmental change and anthropogenic disturbance on biological communities, track the spread of invasive species across ocean basins, and ground-truth oceanographic models, among other applications. ROV imaging methods could be refined at minimal cost to provide standardized data on a continual basis, to assist identification of future changes in vulnerable offshore ecosystems Roberts et al.
Improved partnerships between researchers and the offshore industries are critical for effective repurposing of data.
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Industry collects extensive data on the geology, oceanography, and ecology of potential operating sites. Access to these data is often limited by concerns of confidentiality. However, trust developed through ongoing partnerships can increase data-sharing for mutual benefit. By partnering with researchers, industry can add value to data they are required to collect for environmental reporting, and researchers can gain access to datasets that would otherwise be challenging to obtain.
To demonstrate the feasibility of sustained deep-ocean observing, relevant technologies, and the impact and utilization of deep-ocean observations, the DOOS proposes a series of potential region-specific, interdisciplinary projects. These would demonstrate the end-to-end process of deep-ocean observing, data processing, and quality control, as well as ensure availability of data to users with appropriate documentation.
Such efforts would advance well-vetted EOVs, state-of-the-art technological capacities, and modular dimensions of associated platforms, projects, and data products. These would provide a template that could ideally scale from local to quasi-global coverage. We summarize key features, science questions, societal relevance and infrastructure for each of these candidate projects Table 3 and provide brief, relevant background.
Table 3. Summary of possible demonstration projects, questions, advantages and assets. All seventeen deep-sea mining contractors with exploration claims in the CCZ must collect and provide physical, chemical and biological data to the ISA. Although oceanographic moorings have been deployed there for up to 3 years Aleynik et al. Many discoveries followed the recently expanded presence in the CCZ area, from regional faunal patterns e.
A demonstration project, if well-integrated to ongoing studies by contractors, e. The Azores volcanic northeast Atlantic archipelago sits above a tectonically active triple plate junction, surrounded by abyssal plains with numerous seamounts, deep fracture zones, trenches, and a considerable extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Prominent vulnerable marine ecosystems include deep-sea hydrothermal vents, sponge aggregations, cold water coral gardens and reefs, and extensive fields of xenophyophores Morato et al. These nodes will monitor the biogeochemical coupling of the benthos, water column, and atmosphere, and can provide information on ocean change in relation to climate and AMOC patterns.
The Cascadia Margin and Juan de Fuca Plate offer existing infrastructure to support significant opportunities for technologically advanced interdisciplinary ocean observation based largely on existing infrastructure.
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Collectively, the submarine cabled observatories span ocean depths from 80 to m, including approximately km of high power and high bandwidth fiber optic cables, 14 subsea terminals, and more than 30 secondary junction boxes at key experimental sites. This infrastructure provides power and communication to hundreds of seafloor instruments and state-of-the-art moorings with instrumented profilers streaming data to shore at the speed of light. The continuous, real-time, two-way communication can capture interannual and interdecadal variability, as well as document, quantify, and respond to NE Pacific transient events.
The observatories also span biogeochemical and physical environments that include a continental margin strongly influenced by upwelling and expanding hypoxia e. A preliminary workshop in gathered NE Pacific cabled observatory operators and the wider deep-sea community to explore linking OOI and ONC demonstration project opportunities. These projects would build from existing assets by integrating observations already carried out by the cabled arrays, adding sensors and instruments to the installations and carrying out ship-based investigations during maintenance cruises.
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This research has significantly advanced understanding of the structure, variability, and dynamic mechanism of three-dimensional circulation in the western Pacific, and for mass and energy exchanges between the Western Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas. Monitoring long-term changes in the deep-sea environment, such as warming and freshening of abyssal waters, requires data of the highest possible quality from the ocean trenches.
Past hadal observations focused on physical parameters Taira et al.
Hadal KATE samples analyzed for microbial diversity and environmental metagenomics provide a basis for future integrated biological studies. In very general terms, the essential infrastructure elements needed to support sensors and their observation include power, communications, timing, and positioning.
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Sometimes all of these elements may co-occur in the form of a ship or a cable node, providing large bandwidth and power. Historically, deep-sea data collection relied on research ships and survey vessels. Technological advances have increased their capabilities for methods such as bathymetric mapping of the deep seabed using modern multibeam echo-sounders. Devices lowered from ships can sample the water column e. A variety of types of corers and grabs can sample seabed sediments for geology and biology, whereas larger deep-sea organisms require epi-benthic sledges and trawls, or imaging with towed camera systems, ROVs or AUVs; the latter tools are particularly important for imaging and sampling biological communities and geological features on hard surfaces such as bedrock.
A long-running effort to sample ocean temperature used XBTs deployed from research and military vessels as well as from commercial ships under the Volunteer Observing System.