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Conning Towers-Nautilus Park, United States

Van Dover C.L.,Duke University | Smith C.R.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Ardron J.,Marine Conservation Institute | Dunn D.,Duke University | And 3 more authors.
Marine Policy

From the moment of their discovery, chemosynthetic ecosystems in the deep sea have held intrinsic scientific value. At the same time that the scientific community is studying chemosynthetic ecosystems other sectors are either engaged in, or planning for, activities that may adversely impact these ecosystems. There is a need and opportunity now to develop conservation strategies for networks of chemosynthetic ecosystem reserves in national and international waters through collaboration among concerned stakeholders. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Smith S.,Nautilus Minerals Inc.
OCEANS'11 - MTS/IEEE Kona, Program Book

Nautilus Minerals (Nautilus) is following the lead of the petroleum industry as it strives to tap vast offshore resources. Planning is well underway for the Solwara 1 Project in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea (PNG) to recover high-grade seafloor massive sulphide deposits in 1600 m water depth. The deposit contains an average copper grade >10 times higher than a typical land-based porphyry copper mine. The high grades combined with a relatively small amount of overburden ensure the Solwara 1 Project will have a significantly smaller physical footprint than its land-based counterparts. Offshore minerals production also has the advantage of minimal social disturbance. © 2011 MTS. Source

Smith G.,Nautilus Minerals Inc.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering - OMAE

A new seafloor resource industry is today focused on the exploration and recovery of high-grade copper and gold in seafloor massive-sulphide (SMS) mineralization. Work is in progress to commercially develop the first such deposit (Solwara 1) in 1,600 meters water depth in the benign Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea. Environmental, geological and engineering studies conducted to date have culminated in a number of world firsts, including the first Environmental Permit granted for the extraction of SMS deposits and the first NI 43-101 compliant SMS deposit resource statement. Design of the mining system has been based on proven deepwater technologies from the oil and gas industry. Pipeline trenching units, ROVs, deepwater production risers and drill cuttings removal systems will be adapted to initiate this new and exciting industry. Copyright © 2010 by ASME. Source

Thaler A.D.,Duke University | Plouviez S.,Duke University | Saleu W.,Nautilus Minerals Inc. | Alei F.,University of Papua New Guinea | And 5 more authors.

Studies of genetic connectivity and population structure in deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems often focus on endosymbiont-hosting species that are directly dependent on chemical energy extracted from vent effluent for survival. Relatively little attention has been paid to vent-associated species that are not exclusively dependent on chemosynthetic ecosystems. Here we assess connectivity and population structure of two vent-associated invertebrates - the shrimp Chorocaris sp. 2 and the squat lobster Munidopsis lauensis - that are common at deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the western Pacific. While Chorocaris sp. 2 has only been observed at hydrothermal vent sites, M. lauensis can be found throughout the deep sea but occurs in higher abundance around the periphery of active vents We sequenced mitochondrial COI genes and deployed nuclear microsatellite markers for both species at three sites in Manus Basin and either North Fiji Basin (Chorocaris sp. 2) or Lau Basin (Munidopsis lauensis). We assessed genetic differentiation across a range of spatial scales, from approximately 2.5 km to more than 3000 km. Population structure for Chorocaris sp. 2 was comparable to that of the vent-associated snail Ifremeria nautilei, with a single seemingly well-mixed population within Manus Basin that is genetically differentiated from conspecifics in North Fiji Basin. Population structure for Munidopsis lauensis was more complex, with two genetically differentiated populations in Manus Basin and a third well-differentiated population in Lau Basin. The unexpectedly high level of genetic differentiation between M. lauensis populations in Manus Basin deserves further study since it has implications for conservation and management of diversity in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems. © 2014 Thaler et al. Source

Collins P.C.,National University of Ireland | Croot P.,National University of Ireland | Carlsson J.,University College Dublin | Colaco A.,University of The Azores | And 7 more authors.
Marine Policy

Seafloor massive sulfides (SMS) contain commercially viable quantities of high grade ores, making them attractive prospect sites for marine mining. SMS deposits may also contain hydrothermal vent ecosystems populated by high conservation value vent-endemic species. Responsible environmental management of these resources is best achieved by the adoption of a precautionary approach. Part of this precautionary approach involves the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of exploration and exploitative activities at SMS deposits. The VentBase 2012 workshop provided a forum for stakeholders and scientists to discuss issues surrounding SMS exploration and exploitation. This forum recognised the requirement for a primer which would relate concepts underpinning EIA at SMS deposits. The purpose of this primer is to inform policy makers about EIA at SMS deposits in order to aid management decisions. The primer offers a basic introduction to SMS deposits and their associated ecology, and the basic requirements for EIA at SMS deposits; including initial data and information scoping, environmental survey, and ecological risk assessment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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