Pollution and waste disposal

Deep-sea habitats such as cold-water coral reefs have been under threat for many years from the dumping of pollution, including radioactive substances, sewerage and drill cuttings (Glover and Smith, 2003; Freidwald et al., 2004). A particular issue relevant for the future will be plans to sequester CO2 into the deep-sea, as a meansĀ  of combating climate change (Glover and Smith, 2003). A limited number of studies using meiofauna e.g. nematodes and copepods, have demonstrated high rates of mortality and disrupted physiological function due to decreasing pH where test sources were released (Barry et al., 2004;Thistle et al., 2005; Fleeger et al., 2006). Despite few studies directly quantifying these threats for cold-water reefs, there is likely to be negative consequences given the vulnerable nature of the corals.

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