Protecting the diversity of the depths: environmental regulation of bioprospecting and marine scientific research beyond national jurisdiction
As scientific knowledge of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction increases and developments in oceans technology permit greater access to the high seas water column and the deep seabed, new and more intensive uses of these areas occur with consequential impacts on the marine environment. The discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977 revealed communities of organisms with unique genetic and biochemical properties which can be used for a seemingly limitless catalogue of medical, pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Similar repositories of genetic and biochemical resources have been discovered in other deep sea environments such as cold water seeps and it is expected that sediment communities of the deep seabed will eventually reveal comparable but more sparsely distributed diversity.
Warner, R. M. (2008). Protecting the Diversity of the Depths: Environmental Regulation of Bioprospecting and Marine Scientific Research Beyond National Jurisdiction. Ocean Yearbook, 22 411-443.