Impact of ferromanganese ore pollution on phytoplankton CO2 fixation in the surface ocean

Dabrowska, Alicja; Kamennaya, Nina A.; Murton, Bramley J. ORCID:; Zubkov, Mikhail V.. 2019 Impact of ferromanganese ore pollution on phytoplankton CO2 fixation in the surface ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 146. 1002-1006.

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Because ferromanganese polymetallic crusts can become a global resource of valuable elements the ecological impact of seafloor crust mining requires evaluation. Whilst the detrimental impact on deep-ocean benthos is established, experimental evidence about the mining hazard to surface-ocean is sparse. When retrieved, mined crusts can leach elements potentially harmfull to the core oceanic CO2-fixers – phytoplankton. To directly assess the magnitude of this potential hazard at ocean-basin scale, we examine the impact of ore slurry on phytoplankton CO2 fixation along a meridional transect through the South Atlantic Ocean. Within 12 h crust slurry additions caused a 25% decrease of CO2 fixation in the subtropical region and 15% in the temperate-polar region. Such moderate susceptibility of phytoplankton indicates limited release of harmful elements from tested polymetallic powder. Although this implies that environmentally sustainable seafloor mining could be feasible, longer-term complex studies of the mining impact on the surface ocean are required.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0025326X
Date made live: 27 Aug 2019 13:55 +0 (UTC)

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