Scientific Glossary

Glossary of terms and abbreviations relevant to the International Seabed Authority and the documents it produces

Please note that this is a constantly evolving document.

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Titlesort descending

DISCOL Experimental Area.

Deep-Sea Research Vehicle

Manned research submersible used for sampling and observation of the deep sea. Abbreviated to DSRV. Examples include Alvin(USA), Nautile (France), Mir I & Mir II (Russia) and Shinkai 6500 (Japan). Compare to Autonomous Underwater Vehicles andRemotely Operated Vehicles.


Organisms living at or near the bottom of a body of water. Synonymous with epibenthic.


To change the structure of a molecule, disrupting its biological activity.


Something that denatures an organic molecule.

Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis

A method for separating DNA fragments using their variable motility on a gradient of denaturing conditions. A method for separatingspecies using their DNA. Abbreviated to DGGE.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

Molecules found in most organisms that carry genetic information necessary for the organization and functioning of most living cells. Also responsible for inherited characteristics. Abbreviated to DNA. Compare to Ribonucleic Acid (RNA).

Deposit Feeder

Synonymous with detritovore.

Deposit Feeding

The action of feeding on detritus by either ingesting material unselectively and excreting unusable components or by selectively ingesting discrete particles.


Organism that feeds on detritus. Synonymous with Deposit Feeder.


Dead organic matter from both plant and animal origin.


Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis.


Involving a 24-hour period that includes a day and the adjoining night.

Direct Impacts

Impacts caused as a direct result of an action that is identified by the absence of an existing structure with an evident change in theenvironment and with future consequences of the action. Compare to cumulative impacts.


Disturbance and Recolonization (German project in Pacific Ocean).


Processes which are completed within approximately 24 hours and recur every 24 hours.


Deoxyribonucleic Acid.


Dissolved Oxygen


Dissolved Organic Carbon.


Department of Ocean Development (India)


Dissolved Organic Matter.


Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study (United States)


Deep Ocean Resources Development Co., Ltd. (Japan). One of the groups granted a contract for the exploration of polymetallic nodules. Other contractors listed here.

Dormant Sulphides

Synonymous with inactive sulphides.


Deep-Sea Research Vehicle.