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Ecological impacts of large-scale disposal of mining waste in the deep sea.

Hughes DJ, Shimmield TM, Black KD, Howe JA - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: At Lihir, where DSTP has operated continuously since 1996, abundance of sediment infauna was substantially reduced across the sampled depth range (800-2020 m), accompanied by changes in higher-taxon community structure, in comparison with unimpacted reference stations.At Misima, where DSTP took place for 15 years, ending in 2004, effects on community composition persisted 3.5 years after its conclusion.Active tailings deposition has severe impacts on deep-sea infaunal communities and these impacts are detectable at a coarse level of taxonomic resolution.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Deep-Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) from terrestrial mines is one of several large-scale industrial activities now taking place in the deep sea. The scale and persistence of its impacts on seabed biota are unknown. We sampled around the Lihir and Misima island mines in Papua New Guinea to measure the impacts of ongoing DSTP and assess the state of benthic infaunal communities after its conclusion. At Lihir, where DSTP has operated continuously since 1996, abundance of sediment infauna was substantially reduced across the sampled depth range (800-2020 m), accompanied by changes in higher-taxon community structure, in comparison with unimpacted reference stations. At Misima, where DSTP took place for 15 years, ending in 2004, effects on community composition persisted 3.5 years after its conclusion. Active tailings deposition has severe impacts on deep-sea infaunal communities and these impacts are detectable at a coarse level of taxonomic resolution.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Seabed images and cored sediments from stations around Misima(a) Drop-camera image from M1 (depth 1380 m) showing irregular seabed topography with no visible biogenic features. (b) Drop-camera image from M5 (depth 1704 m) showing seabed with epifaunal trails, burrow openings and feeding marks. Two decapod crustaceans (swimming shrimp and small galatheid on sediment surface) at lower right. Compass arm not fitted to camera frame at this station. (c) Two cores from M3 (depth 1467 m) showing homogeneous brown sediment. (d) Surface of a core from M4 (depth 1793 m) showing flocculent superficial material, polychaete tube opening and adjacent tube fragments. Image width in (a) and (b) is approximately 1 m across the lower edge. Core diameter in (c) and (d) is 10 cm.
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f4: Seabed images and cored sediments from stations around Misima(a) Drop-camera image from M1 (depth 1380 m) showing irregular seabed topography with no visible biogenic features. (b) Drop-camera image from M5 (depth 1704 m) showing seabed with epifaunal trails, burrow openings and feeding marks. Two decapod crustaceans (swimming shrimp and small galatheid on sediment surface) at lower right. Compass arm not fitted to camera frame at this station. (c) Two cores from M3 (depth 1467 m) showing homogeneous brown sediment. (d) Surface of a core from M4 (depth 1793 m) showing flocculent superficial material, polychaete tube opening and adjacent tube fragments. Image width in (a) and (b) is approximately 1 m across the lower edge. Core diameter in (c) and (d) is 10 cm.

Mentions: Seabed images from M1 showed an irregular, lumpy bedform suggestive of a recent disturbance event (Fig. 4a). There were no visible epifauna or biogenic traces. In contrast, images from M5 showed a more regular seabed topography with occasional epifauna and abundant biogenic traces including small mounds, burrow openings and trails (Fig. 4b). Cored sediments were similar in appearance at all six Misima stations, with no superficial fresh tailings layer (Fig. 4c, d). However, we found a clear geochemical contrast between stations M1-M3 and M5-M6 (Supplementary Table S4), with the former group showing lower values for solid-phase calcium and higher values for tailings-derived trace metals. Station M4 showed values intermediate between these two groups. Geochemical data therefore indicate high tailings content at M1-M3, a lower level of input at M4, possibly by resuspension from the depocentre, and entirely natural sediments at M5 and M6.


Ecological impacts of large-scale disposal of mining waste in the deep sea.

Hughes DJ, Shimmield TM, Black KD, Howe JA - Sci Rep (2015)

Seabed images and cored sediments from stations around Misima(a) Drop-camera image from M1 (depth 1380 m) showing irregular seabed topography with no visible biogenic features. (b) Drop-camera image from M5 (depth 1704 m) showing seabed with epifaunal trails, burrow openings and feeding marks. Two decapod crustaceans (swimming shrimp and small galatheid on sediment surface) at lower right. Compass arm not fitted to camera frame at this station. (c) Two cores from M3 (depth 1467 m) showing homogeneous brown sediment. (d) Surface of a core from M4 (depth 1793 m) showing flocculent superficial material, polychaete tube opening and adjacent tube fragments. Image width in (a) and (b) is approximately 1 m across the lower edge. Core diameter in (c) and (d) is 10 cm.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4419517&req=5

f4: Seabed images and cored sediments from stations around Misima(a) Drop-camera image from M1 (depth 1380 m) showing irregular seabed topography with no visible biogenic features. (b) Drop-camera image from M5 (depth 1704 m) showing seabed with epifaunal trails, burrow openings and feeding marks. Two decapod crustaceans (swimming shrimp and small galatheid on sediment surface) at lower right. Compass arm not fitted to camera frame at this station. (c) Two cores from M3 (depth 1467 m) showing homogeneous brown sediment. (d) Surface of a core from M4 (depth 1793 m) showing flocculent superficial material, polychaete tube opening and adjacent tube fragments. Image width in (a) and (b) is approximately 1 m across the lower edge. Core diameter in (c) and (d) is 10 cm.
Mentions: Seabed images from M1 showed an irregular, lumpy bedform suggestive of a recent disturbance event (Fig. 4a). There were no visible epifauna or biogenic traces. In contrast, images from M5 showed a more regular seabed topography with occasional epifauna and abundant biogenic traces including small mounds, burrow openings and trails (Fig. 4b). Cored sediments were similar in appearance at all six Misima stations, with no superficial fresh tailings layer (Fig. 4c, d). However, we found a clear geochemical contrast between stations M1-M3 and M5-M6 (Supplementary Table S4), with the former group showing lower values for solid-phase calcium and higher values for tailings-derived trace metals. Station M4 showed values intermediate between these two groups. Geochemical data therefore indicate high tailings content at M1-M3, a lower level of input at M4, possibly by resuspension from the depocentre, and entirely natural sediments at M5 and M6.

Bottom Line: At Lihir, where DSTP has operated continuously since 1996, abundance of sediment infauna was substantially reduced across the sampled depth range (800-2020 m), accompanied by changes in higher-taxon community structure, in comparison with unimpacted reference stations.At Misima, where DSTP took place for 15 years, ending in 2004, effects on community composition persisted 3.5 years after its conclusion.Active tailings deposition has severe impacts on deep-sea infaunal communities and these impacts are detectable at a coarse level of taxonomic resolution.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Deep-Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) from terrestrial mines is one of several large-scale industrial activities now taking place in the deep sea. The scale and persistence of its impacts on seabed biota are unknown. We sampled around the Lihir and Misima island mines in Papua New Guinea to measure the impacts of ongoing DSTP and assess the state of benthic infaunal communities after its conclusion. At Lihir, where DSTP has operated continuously since 1996, abundance of sediment infauna was substantially reduced across the sampled depth range (800-2020 m), accompanied by changes in higher-taxon community structure, in comparison with unimpacted reference stations. At Misima, where DSTP took place for 15 years, ending in 2004, effects on community composition persisted 3.5 years after its conclusion. Active tailings deposition has severe impacts on deep-sea infaunal communities and these impacts are detectable at a coarse level of taxonomic resolution.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus