Deep-ocean resources and biodiscovery: enabling a sustainable and healthy low-carbon future (DEEPEND project)
Countries: Fiji, Cook Islands
Partners: Natural History Museum, National Oceanography Centre, University of Aberdeen, University of Strathclyde Glasgow, University of Southampton, Pacific: Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority, University of the South Pacific, Pacific Community
Summary: The climate change crisis has increased the demand for natural resources, such as lithium, cobalt, and manganese, due to their role in the green energy transition as important components for batteries of electric vehicles. With vast reservoirs of minerals present in the deep sea, mining in our oceans is already being discussed and could start within the next decade, but little is known about the biodiversity and Marine Genetic Resources (MGR) present in these deep-sea regions. DEEPEND looks to develop a long-term project to understand the true value of biodiversity in deep-sea regions at risk from mining and climate change. It utilises molecular approaches to provide fundamental knowledge on biodiversity, explore pharmaceutical applications of deep-sea microbes and invertebrates, inform policy on seabed mining, deliver development outcomes, enable understanding of future climate scenarios and provide long-term research and development value.