The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Human activities on the deep seafloor in the North East Atlantic: an assessment of spatial extent

Record type: Article

Background

Environmental impacts of human activities on the deep seafloor are of increasing concern. While activities within waters shallower than 200 m have been the focus of previous assessments of anthropogenic impacts, no study has quantified the extent of individual activities or determined the relative severity of each type of impact in the deep sea.

Methodology

The OSPAR maritime area of the North East Atlantic was chosen for the study because it is considered to be one of the most heavily impacted by human activities. In addition, it was assumed data would be accessible and comprehensive. Using the available data we map and estimate the spatial extent of five major human activities in the North East Atlantic that impact the deep seafloor: submarine communication cables, marine scientific research, oil and gas industry, bottom trawling and the historical dumping of radioactive waste, munitions and chemical weapons. It was not possible to map military activities. The extent of each activity has been quantified for a single year, 2005.

Principal Findings

Human activities on the deep seafloor of the OSPAR area of the North Atlantic are significant but their footprints vary. Some activities have an immediate impact after which seafloor communities could re-establish, while others can continue to make an impact for many years and the impact could extend far beyond the physical disturbance. The spatial extent of waste disposal, telecommunication cables, the hydrocarbon industry and marine research activities is relatively small. The extent of bottom trawling is very significant and, even on the lowest possible estimates, is an order of magnitude greater than the total extent of all the other activities.

Conclusions/Significance

To meet future ecosystem-based management and governance objectives for the deep sea significant improvements are required in data collection and availability as well as a greater awareness of the relative impact of each human activity.

Other fetchObject.action_uri=info_doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012730&representation=PDF - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (2MB)

Citation

Benn, Angela R., Weaver, Philip P., Billett, David S.M., van den Hove, Sybille, Murdock, Andrew P., Doneghan, Gemma B. and Le Bas, Tim (2010) Human activities on the deep seafloor in the North East Atlantic: an assessment of spatial extent PLoS ONE, 5, (9), pp. 1-15. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012730).

More information

Published date: 13 September 2010
Organisations: Marine Biogeochemistry, Marine Geoscience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 173049
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/173049
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 4c5dd6bc-4fba-48a7-aa7a-1021fcc34695
ORCID for Gemma B. Doneghan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0554-1856

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Feb 2011 14:21
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:13

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Angela R. Benn
Author: Philip P. Weaver
Author: David S.M. Billett
Author: Sybille van den Hove
Author: Andrew P. Murdock
Author: Tim Le Bas

University divisions


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×