The KAPLAN Project: Biodiversity, species ranges, and gene flow in the abyssal Pacific nodule province, predicting and managing the impacts of deep seabed mining


Executive Summary

Abyssal Pacific sediments in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) harbour abundant mineral resources, in the form of nickel- and copper-rich manganese nodules, that are of increasing commercial and strategic interest. Abyssal sediments may also be major reservoirs of biodiversity. It has been extremely difficult to predict the threat of nodule mining to biodiversity (in particular, the likelihood of species extinctions) because of very limited knowledge of (a) the number of species residing within areas potentially perturbed by single mining operations, and (b) the typical geographic ranges of species within the nodule province. In this project, we have used state-of-theart molecular and morphological methods to evaluate biodiversity and geographic ranges of three key faunal groups in the abyssal Pacific nodule province: polychaete worms, nematode worms, and protozoan foraminifera. Together, these groups constitute >50% of faunal abundance and species richness in abyssal sediments, and represent a broad range of ecological and life history types.

The primary goals of this project, involving scientists and collaborators from five countries, have been as follows: (read more link to Executive Summary – See attached file : abstract_kaplan.pdf)



Dr. Craig R. Smith,University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA;
Drs. Gordon Paterson, John Lambshead and Adrian Glover, Natural History Museum of London, UK; Dr.Alex Rogers, Zoological Society of London, UK;
Dr. Andrew Gooday, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK;
Dr. Hiroshi Kitazato, JAMSTEC, Japan;
Drs. Myriam Sibuet, Joëlle Galéron, and Lenaïck Menot, IFREMER, France