Impact assessment of deep-sea exploration and exploitation activities.
Until now, deep-sea exploration activities have not been continuously monitored. Previous studies focused on ecosystem vulnerability and levels of disturbance, derived from exploitation activities. TRIDENT takes a holistic approach to potential future exploitation disturbance, accounting for the variety of phenomena that are physically stimulated at the same time, including sediment plumes, noise, light, and dissolved chemical species.
The project will identify the generic disturbances that may arise for mining each of the three different major seafloor mineral deposit types: polymetallic nodules, ferromanganese crusts, and polymetallic sulphides. It will devise the technologies, methodologies, and systems to monitor them, and test them in situ in a deep-sea environment.
Domain specialists will identify the key environmental parameters. That will be used to measure those impacts already identified by international and national regulations, and identify key proxies for those impacts that can be measured reliably over a range of time and length scales.
The outcome will be a blue-print solution for future monitoring systems for deep-sea exploration and potential exploitation, that will forecast and inform simultaneously operators and regulators of past and current impacts. The system will enable operators to mitigate any affection by adjusting their activities.
Autonomous deep-water monitoring systems
TRIDENT innovation lays at developing a technology and system able to perform deep-sea impact assessment at high technology readiness level (TRL) and great depth.
Autonomous deep-water monitoring systems will consist of mobile observatory platforms, equipped with advanced automatic sensors and samplers to measure environmental parameters on mining and reference areas at representative spatial and temporal scales.
To support quick actions for preventing serious harm to the environment, the system will implement high-capacity data handling pipelines able to collect, transmit, process and display monitoring data in near real time through the creation of a database, available in the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), handling complex heterogenous data types and formats, including multiple integrated sensor and recorded noise data.