The data and samples collected during the four cruises to the DISCOL area were subsequently analyzed by the participating scientists, leading to a better understanding of the deep-sea ecosystem of the general DISCOL area described in a large number of publications.
Furthermore, these “historic” datasets provide useful information for the JPI Oceans Pilot Action “Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining” today, a joint effort of 25 European research institutions to assess “the impacts which could arise from commercial mining activities in the deep-sea” (JPI Oceans – Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining), within which the DISCOL area was studied again during two cruises conducted with the German research vessel SONNE (SO242/1 & SO242/2).
More than 30,000 seafloor images were taken by the OFOS system during the early cruises allowing now a comparison between the environmental conditions 26 years ago (before and after the initial impact during the different phases of the project) and the current state of the ecosystem in the DISCOL area. After the original project was concluded in 2001 with the publication of the final report of the TUSCH group, all the acquired data were archived by the different participating institutions.
In order to provide useful information for ecological studies as well as to facilitate the station planning before and during the cruises SO 241/1 & SO 242/2 (July - October 2015), the old datasets were digitalized, processed and subsequently stored in a separate database. Some of the data are presented here in the following sections.
To get a first overview of the data available, please see the reports of the respective cruises, which can be found here.