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Deep Sea Mining Could Harm Jellyfish Populations, New Study Finds

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Researchers Investigate the Impact of Deep Sea Mining on Wildlife

A groundbreaking study conducted by researchers and marine ecologists suggests that deep sea mining could pose a significant danger to local jellyfish populations. The study aims to assess the effects of mining on the wildlife that resides on the sea floor.

Potential Harm to Deep Sea Jellyfish

While there are undeniable benefits to mining the ocean floor, such as accessing rare minerals and elements, the researchers warn that this activity may harm deep sea jellyfish. Sediment stirred up during mining could trigger stress responses in these creatures, leading to the excessive production of mucus.

Signs of Acute Stress

According to the study's co-lead, Vannessa Stenvers, deep-sea jellyfish and other cnidarians excrete mucus when stressed. When the sediment concentration in the water exceeds 17 mg/l (milligrams per liter), exposed jellyfish produce abnormally high amounts of mucus, covering their bodies. This excessive mucus production is a sign of acute stress and can deplete their energy reserves, potentially causing long-term damage to their health.

Threat to Jellyfish Survival

The researchers are particularly concerned about the impact of deep sea mining on jellyfish populations because food is scarce in the deep sea. Any additional energy expended by the jellyfish is difficult to regain, and if they are unable to replenish their energy reserves, they could starve to death.

Considerations for Companies

Although many companies may be solely focused on the economic benefits of deep sea mining, it is essential to take into account the potential harm it could cause to jellyfish populations. The study's findings highlight the importance of considering the environmental impact of mining activities, especially when it comes to fragile marine ecosystems.

The study, which was published in Nature Communications, serves as a crucial reminder to keep the potential dangers of deep sea mining in mind as we explore the depths of our oceans for valuable resources.

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