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Resilience and recovery of meiofaunal communities in different anthropologically induced disturbance scenarios

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Period: October 2013

Thesaurus terms: Acidification; Deep-sea mining; Meiofauna

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Abstract:
The anthropogenic impact on ecosystems comes in different forms and needs to be studied carefully in order to protect natural environments. This PhD research is involved in two European projects, each dealing with a different aspect of anthropogenic disturbance of marine benthic ecosystems.
In times of increasing industrial growth solutions must be found for the problems this growth brings along like global warming and increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses. Apart from reducing carbon emissions over the long term, storage of CO2 in sub-seafloor reservoirs is being considered as an instant mitigation method. However, the environmental risk and potential impact of CO2 leakage on the benthic communities is so far largely unknown. One aim of this PhD research is to find out about the impact of CO2 leakage on meiofaunal communities by means of acidification experiments and studies on natural CO2-seep communities, with special focus on nematodes. This work is part of the European ECO2 (Sub-seabed CO2 Storage: Impact on Marine Ecosystems) project.
The decrease of terrestrial mineral and metal reservoirs and technological development are drivers of exploration and subsequent exploitation of deep-sea minerals. This can entail strong physical disturbances such as sediment plumes and the suspension of organisms into the water column as well as toxicological impacts. In the framework of the European MIDAS (Managing impact of deep-sea resource exploitation) project we want to study the impact of such mining operations on meiofaunal communities through field and experimental studies.

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