Climate Change Considerations are Fundamental to Sustainable Management of Deep-Seabed Ecosystems

Lisa A Levin1, Chih-Lin Wei2, Daniel C Dunn3, Diva Amon4, Oliver Ashford5, William W.L. Cheung6, Ana Colaço7, Elva Escobar-Briones8, Harriet Harden Davies1,9, Jeffrey Drazen10, Khaira Ismail11, Daniel Jones12, David Johnson13, Jennifer Tran Le14, Franck Lejzerowicz15, Satoshi Mitarai16, Telmo Morato17, Sandor Mulsow18, Paul VR Snelgrove19, Andrew K Sweetman20 and Moriaki Yasuhara21, (1)University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States, (2)National Taiwan University, Institute of Oceanography, Taipei, Taiwan, (3)University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, (4)Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom, (5)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Integrative Oceanography Division, La Jolla, CA, United States, (6)The University of British Columbia, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (7)University of the Azores, Institute of Marine Research, Ponta Delgada, Portugal, (8)Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia, Mexico City, EM, Mexico, (9)Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, Australia, (10)University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Department of Oceanography, Honolulu, United States, (11)Duke University Marine Laboratory, North Carolina, USA, Durham, United States, (12)University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom, (13)Seascape Consultants, United Kingdom, (14)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, United States, (15)University of California, United States, (16)Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Marine Biophysics Unit, Onna, Okinawa, Japan, (17)University of Azores, Portugal, (18)Private, Chile, (19)Memorial University of Newfoundland, Biology and Ocean Sciences Center, St. John's, NF, Canada, (20)Heriot-Watt University, Lyell Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, (21)The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Climate change is happening now and will affect all deep-sea habitats, including those targeted for deep seabed mining. Impacts can take the form of ocean warming, oxygen loss, increasing acidity, and altered food supplies. These climate drivers are transforming life on the seafloor and in the water column, likely hindering their ability to recover from disturbance. They also interact with disturbance and other impacts from direct human activities, hence consideration of climate change is required for effective long-term management of deep seabed industries. Strategic planning, impact assessment and monitoring, spatial management and full-cost accounting will need to effectively incorporate climate impacts to maintain key services provided by the ocean. Effective management hinges upon understanding how climate change can impact deep-sea species, ecosystems, and processes. Numerical models forecasting climate change impacts in the deep sea can identify potential refugia, and resilient and representative areas, but they require field validation. Habitat suitability and connectivity models can predict the potential impact of climate change on animal diversity and distributions, larval supply and recruitment, and identify connectivity barriers under future conditions. These complementary tools can help us better understand the vulnerability and resilience of species to impacts associated with mining and fishing, that climate change may exacerbate. Key actions include recognition of natural variability and change, creation of protected areas that help distinguish climate from resource extraction impacts, cumulative impact assessment, open access to climate-relevant data, and building capacity and literacy to incorporate climate change into environmental management. Climate change should be integrated across different multilateral agreements and sectors in line with the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and in response to predictions of the IPCC SROCC.