The Specialty on Deep-Sea Environments and Ecology is devoted to publish fundamental, interdisciplinary and applied research on aspects of the geology, oceanography and ecology of the deep sea, including biodiversity, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem functioning.
The deep sea comprises the largest ecosystem on Planet Earth. It harbours a substantial portion of the biological diversity and geological resources on the planet. The 3D complexity, vastness and remoteness of the deep sea allied with the relatively scarce scientific research on these extreme environments means that it remains poorly understood. The deep sea provides a suite of important direct and indirect goods and services that range from direct provisioning of food resources, chemical compounds for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, oil and gas, or mineral resources, to indirect services such as climate regulation or regulation of global biogeochemical cycles and nutrient cycling, which are crucial to the functioning of our planetary system. The increased demand for natural and mineral resources has promoted the exploitation of previously inaccessible areas leading to a sharp expansion of human activities in the deep sea. As a result, new governance approaches and careful environmental assessments to ensure that socio-economic gain is balanced with sustainable management will be necessary. The Specialty on Deep-Sea Environments and Ecology is devoted to publish fundamental, interdisciplinary and applied research on aspects of the geology, oceanography and ecology of the deep sea, including biodiversity, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem functioning. It will also focus on the impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on deep-sea ecosystems and their functional consequences as well as on the studies devoted to the mitigation of adverse impacts of human activities. Deep-Sea Environments and Ecology will cover any aspect of research on deep pelagic and benthic ecosystems, e.g. seamounts, ocean ridges, canyons, deep fracture zones and trenches, island slopes and related habitats (e.g. cold-water corals, sponge aggregations), and chemosynthetic environments in particular hydrothermal vents. Interdisciplinary themes to be addressed include: 1) anthropogenic impacts, including climate driven changes, 2) ecosystem functioning, distribution and connectivity, 3) biological capacities and 4) societal and economic challenges and governance.