Discovery of a seep community impacted by the mining factory in Astrolabe Bay, Papua New-Guinea.

The deep-sea part of the "Papua Niugini Biodiversity Expedition" (www.laplaneterevisitee.org) surveyed the deep-sea environments along the coasts of New Guinea Island in the Bismarck Sea, from the Vitiaz strait to the frontier between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Irian Jaya. This expedition was a follow-up of the BIOPAPUA cruise (2010) that gave the first insights of the diversity of the deep-sea fauna of the Bismark Sea and Solomon Sea waters in the EEZ of PNG. The three main targets of the cruise were to survey the diversity of the fauna of (i) hard bottoms, that are typically found on deep-sea seamounts (ii) the Astrolabe Bay from 200 m to about 1000 m (ii) the chemosynthetic environments of the deep-sea, including both cold-seep environments and sunken plant remains. The deep-sea party included 114 operations (79 trawling and 38 dredging operations). The Astrolabe Bay was one of our targets for two main reasons. First the topography of the bay allows sampling over the complete bathymetric gradient covered by our sampling tools (down to 1000 m depth). Second, the starting of the mining activities is a potential threat for the marine fauna but only few data are available. In 2010, 9 operations were realized in the bay to which have been added 14 new operations. The sampling in the bay has revealed a diversified fauna associated to soft bottoms, including fauna associated to plant remains. The new operations have allowed us to sample in the canyon off the mining factory. Our sampling, off the factory, has evidenced a chemosynthetic fauna typical of cold-seep environments (e.g. siboglinid worms and bathymodiolin mussel). We have also discovered that although the factory activities had officially started just one week before that we were working in the area, the deep-sea fauna is already impacted by the factory activities.

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First Name: 
Sarah
Last Name: 
Samadi
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33 1 40 79 37 59
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MNHN
First Name: 
Laure
Last Name: 
Corbari
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MNHN
First Name: 
Ralph
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mana
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UPNG
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Justine
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Thubaut
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MNHN
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St├ęphane
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Hourdez
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CNRS
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Philippe
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Bouchet
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MNHN
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Distribution and abundance
Human Impacts / Conservation
Abstract ID: 
CBE5-178