The DISCOL Megafauna Atlas (by Dr. Hartmut Bluhm)
During the course of the DISCOL and later ATESEPP project over 30000 still images were taken of the seafloor within the DISCOL experimental area by different observation systems (OFOS / EXPLOS / FBOS). Furthermore, over 117 hours of video material were recorded as well to enable a better interpretation of the three-dimensional appearance of faunal individuals. Shortly, after completing the first two cruises of the DISCOL project (SO61, SO64) the photographs were examined together with the video material to identify the faunal composition of the DEA, prior to and after the initial impact and, in addition to determine abundance values for the different species found in this area.
In 1991, the deep-sea biologist Dr. Hartmut Bluhm began to compile a preliminary version of the DISCOL Megafauna Atlas and two years later, the International Megafauna Atlas System (IMAS) was started, featuring the first publications of known megafauna species from the DEA. This atlas was then updated with the end of the ATESEPP project in 1998 and tried to cross-reference with an older faunal atlas of the manganese nodule fields of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ / Pawson & Foell 1983).
With the publication of the final report of the TUSCH-group in "Deep-Sea research II, 48" in 2001, the DISCOL Megafauna Atlas was also published online by Dr. Bluhm on his website to "demonstrate marine biologists the diversity of the megafauna of the Peru Basin (Southeast Pacific Ocean) and 'normal' people the variety of the deep-sea fauna in a manganese nodules area" (Bluhm, 2001).
In this section, you can find example images of the identified species within the DISCOL area, based on the DISCOL Megafauna Atlas by Hartmut Bluhm. In the course of the JPI Oceans Pilot Action “Ecological Aspects of Deep-Sea Mining” the fauna of both the DISCOL and the CCFZ area are investigated further to achieve a more thorough understanding of the ecosystem in iron-mangnese nodule fields in the deep-sea. Dr. Bluhm's work is also continued through the DIAS (DISCOL Image Annotation System) database, where both experts and amateurs can annotate and identify megafauna from images taken in the deep-sea and help to quantify the different species in terms of total abundance and spatial distribution.
Pawson, D.L. and E.J. Foell (1983): Atlas of photographs of megafauna from the study area. Report No. MS-200-146 of Deepsea Ventures Inc., Gloucester Point, Virginia: 120pp.
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