Since being discovered in 1977, Hydrothermal Vents have been a source of huge interest, due to their rich diversity and huge populations of new and specialised species in a comparatively baron and homogenous abyss. The mineral rich chimneys spew out a sulphurous fluid which forms an energy source for microbes, forming the base of these fascinating and unique ecosystems.
Their isolation and mysterious interconnectivity reveals a fragile web of life that still has so much more left to be fully appreciated.
The vents have also caught the attention of deep-sea mining contractors. 30 years on from their initial discovery, the global population has doubled and commodity prices have increased. Now, with new technological advances, deep-sea mining has become an imminent reality.
Specialist researcher, Dr Jon Copley, talks through his experiences with Hydrothermal Vents and how irresponsible and short-sighted mining practices may have potentially catastrophic consequences on an ecosystem we still do not fully understand.