A deep sea octopod, dubbed “Casper” after the film ghost because of its appearance, could be at risk from mining, scientists say.
(From BBC News / by Helen Briggs)– The animal, possibly a new species, was discovered last spring at depths of more than 4,000 metres (2.5 miles).
Studies suggest females nurture their eggs for several years on parts of the seabed that contain valuable metals.
Commercial companies are interested in harvesting metals and minerals from the bottom of the ocean.
There are growing concerns about the future impact of mining on life in the deep sea, much of which has yet to be discovered and categorised.
he octopus lays its eggs on the dead stalks of sponges, attached to rocky crusts which are rich in metals like manganese.
The female then protects the eggs as they grow, perhaps for a number of years.
“The brooding observation is important as these sponges only grow in some areas on small, hard nodules or rocky crusts of interest to mining companies because of the metal they contain,” said Autun Purser, of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.
“The removal of these nodules may therefore put the lifecycle of these octopods at risk.”
Read the full article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38366118