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An ecosystem-based deep-ocean strategy

OceanLab´s  crawler

OceanLab´s  crawler at 900 m waterdepth in the Northeast Pacific (Source: ONC). The crawler is one emerging technology for new deep sea monitoring strategies.

February 9, 2017

An international team of researchers from Europe, USA and Canada have presented a new strategy on ecosystem-based deep-ocean monitoring.

The team led by Professor Roberto Danovaro from Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy and including Laurenz Thomsen from Jacobs University in Bremen, report their strategy in this weeks Science magazine.

Increasing exploration and industrial exploitation of the vast and fragile deep-ocean environment for a wide range of resources (e.g., oil, gas, fisheries, new molecules, and soon, minerals) raises global concerns about potential ecological impacts. Multiple impacts on deep-sea ecosystems caused by human activities could eventually alter deep-ocean life-support services.

Although international law and national legislation largely ignore the deep sea's critical role in the functioning and buffering of planetary systems, there are promising developments in support of deep-sea protection at the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority. The authors propose a strategy that builds from existing infrastructures to address research and monitoring needs to inform governments and regulators.

The article is published a few weeks before the next preparatory meeting for the UN Ocean Conference 2017 in New York.

“I hope that this strategy will be implemented in UN regulations and improve ecosystem monitoring of deep sea ecosystems” Thomsen states.

OceanLab at Jacobs University has long-year experience in monitoring of deep sea exploration sites and the development of seafloor robots (crawlers) which are connected to the ONC cabled observatory. Within the German ROBEX program, a seafloor robot from Jacobs University is further modified towards full autonomy. The EES faculty Jacobs University is involved in projects on deep sea mining.


Additional information at:
Science  355, 6324, pp. 452-454
Reference: An ecosystem-based deep-ocean strategy

Questions will be answered by:
Prof. Dr. Laurenz Thomsen | Professor of Geosciences
l.thomsen [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200-3254

Thomas Joppig | Brand Management, Marketing & Communications
t.joppig [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200-4504