About this Research Topic
It was Patricio Bernal, the Coordinator of the IUCN High Seas Initiative, that wrote: "We know more about the surface of the Moon and about Mars than we do about the deep seafloor, despite the fact that we have yet to extract a gram of food, a breath of oxygen or a drop of water from those bodies."In fact, the deep seafloor is sometimes referred as the last frontier on earth and is thought to shelter both critical ecosystems and exploitable resources such as minerals and genetic material.
These resources are said to have enormous potential in terms of contributing to the growth of the blue economy. However, knowledge of deep-sea environments and the impact of humans on these environments lags behind in comparison to other marine environments. To address this issue, a number of cooperative international agreements have been signed. For instance, the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation was signed by the European Union, the United States of America and Canada to launch a Transatlantic Ocean Research Alliance. The goal of this alliance is to increase our understanding of the Atlantic Ocean and its systems, and to promote the sustainable management of its resources. Another example is the GEBCO Seabed 2030 initiative, an international effort to create a bathymetric map of the oceans by 2030 at 100 m to 200 m resolution.
The efforts involved in mapping the seafloor, its habitats and resources require the adoption of an interdisciplinary perspective, working across fields, including marine geology, geomorphology, oceanography, biology, ecology, underwater acoustics, geomatics and more. While the technologies to map the physical and biological components of the deep seafloor exist, the financial, human and material resources required to collect data at a spatial resolution that is adequate for conservation and management purposes are currently limiting the scope of the work that is being done. There have been significant technical developments in recent years, which this Research Topic intends to present.
For this Research Topic, we invite contributions addressing all aspects of marine science that introduce new knowledge or present new approaches to improve our understanding of the physical and biological characteristics of the deep Atlantic Ocean. Technical Review articles and submissions reviewing the challenges faced by this thriving field of research in contexts like conservation and management are also welcome. Contributions will be classified into three themes:
1) Bathymetry, geomorphology, and marine landscapes (i.e. spatial settings and environment);
2) Seabed geology, oceanography, hydrodynamics and water chemistry (i.e. abiotic environment), and
3) Benthic biodiversity, communities, and habitats (i.e. biotic environment).
Authors are welcome to submit their ideas and abstracts to the editors before submission in order for the Topic Editors to assess their suitability for publication in this Research Topic.
Keywords: Seabed bathymetry, Seafloor mapping, Benthic habitats, Seascape ecology, Habitat mapping
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.