The sea floor lying up to 11,000 meters down the ocean floor, which forms about 60 per cent of the earth’s surface area, are unexplored even though the habitat in the region might influence the planet. Now a group of scientists from across the world have joined together to explore the unknown depths.
The team comprises scientists from 45 world famous institutions from across 17 countries. The decade long programme named Challenger 150 will coincide with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021-2030. The team is for collecting physical, geological, biogeochemical and biological data with the help of new application. They will mainly focus on how changes in the deep sea impact the wider ocean and life on the planet. The programme is aimed at evolving new knowledge of the deep for supporting regional, national and international decision making on deep sea issues like fishing, mining, hydrocarbon extraction, climate mitigation, conservation and laying of fiber optic cables.
The scientists explained the rationale behind the motive in an article in Nature Ecology and Evolution. They believe that the UN Challenger 150 will provide a platform rope for the international community. They note that the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development provides an opportunity for the scientific community to unite and to explore the knowledge of deep seas. Lead author Kerry Howell (Professor of Deep-Sea Ecology at University of Plymouth (UK)) said that deep seas and seabed are used increasingly and they are seen as a potential future asset for the resources they possess. Howell stressed that one should have a thorough knowledge of the deep sea and sea bed if one has to explore the resources down below the depths.
Co- lead author Dr Ana Hilario (Researcher of the University of Aveiro (Portugal) noted that the decade also provided an opportunity to build a long term program for training and capacity building in ocean seas. Hilario mentioned that they aimed to develop sea biologists.