Below are a few examples of the projects underway by researchers in the Ocean and Coastal Policy Faculty Working Group:

Deep Sea Marine Protected Areas

The deep sea is home to unique chemo-synthetic environments where creatures such as tube worms, crabs and mollusks live among hot seeps and vents. The deep sea also offers seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits, which offer new mining opportunities for minerals such as copper and gold. The long-term effects of mining on deep sea environments are relatively unknown, and this has led some to call for deep sea marine protected areas. The working group will be holding a colloquium in the fall of 2013 to explore the implications of deep sea marine protected areas.

For more information, contact Cindy Van Dover: c.vandover@duke.edu.

Ocean Acidification

Increased carbon dioxide in the environment is having profound effects on marine organisms. As the ocean absorbs increased amounts of carbon dioxide, it becomes more acidic and affects the ability of animals such as as corals and mollusks to maintain their structures and grow. The working group has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to identify areas where ocean acidification will have the most acute effect on coastal communities. This research will also identify the ways coastal communities can mitigate the effects of ocean acidification.

For more information, contact Dan Ritchoff: ritt@duke.edu.

Marine Animals and Sound

Sound is a critical sensory mode for many marine animals, including almost all marine vertebrates. Large whales, some seals and sea loins, and most fish species use sound to navigate the ocean and hunt for food. Shipping noise can have an adverse effect on marine life as it masks the sounds these animals normally use. As the number of ships on the ocean increase, so will the effects on marine lief. With the help of partners, the working group is identifying innovations and developing governance strategies to better understand and confront the industrialization of the oceans.

For more information, contact Doug Nowacek: dpn3@duke.edu.