DISCOL – a DIS-turbance and re-COL-onization experiment

The DISCOL project – a DIS-turbance and re-COL-onization experiment in a Manganese Nodule Area in the South East Pacific Ocean off Peru - was the first large-scale experiment to investigate the possible impacts of future commercial manganese nodule mining from the deep sea. It was funded from 1988 to 1997 by the former Ministry of Science and Technology of the Federal Republic of Germany. During this time, a total of four cruises with the German research vessel SONNE were carried out to monitor the recolonization process and thus the recovery of the ecosystem of the previously disturbed environment.

After 1997 the political agenda changed and the project was no longer funded. However, because of the rising interest in deep-sea resources, especially within the last five years, and the required evaluation of the possible impact of deep-sea mining by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the German Ministry of Science and Technology decided to fund further studies of the DISCOL Experimental Area (DEA). These studies are carried out within the European JPI Oceans framework as part of the Pilot Action “Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining”. In the course of this project the data collected from the former DISCOL cruises were digitalized and uploaded to scientific databases to make them available to both science and the public and to support the current scientific investigation.

This homepage now was set up to provide background information about the former DISCOL project as well as to advert to the data and the scientific output that resulted from nine years of intense deep-sea research in the Peru Basin.