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The Deep Sea & Sub-Seafloor Frontier (DS³F)
Start date: Jan 1, 2010, End date: Jun 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The Deep Sea and Sub-Seafloor Frontier project (DS³F) provides a pathway towards sustainable management of oceanic resources on a European scale. It will develop subseafloor sampling strategies for enhanced understanding of deep-sea and subseafloor processes by connecting marine research in life and geosciences, climate and environmental change, with socio-economic issues and policy building. Subseafloor drilling and sampling provide two key aspects for understanding how deep-sea ecosystems presently function and how they may respond to global change: (a) an inventory of current subsurface processes and biosphere, and their links to surface ecosystems, utilising seafloor observation and baseline studies and (b) a high resolution archive of past variations in environmental conditions and biodiversity. For both aspects, an international effort is needed to maximise progress by sharing knowledge, ideas and technologies, including mission-specific platforms to increase the efficiency, coverage and effectiveness of subseafloor sampling and exploration. The deep biosphere has been discovered only within the past two decades and comprises a major new frontier for biological exploration. We lack fundamental knowledge about biomass distribution, diversity and physiological activity of deep biosphere communities at life’s extremes, and their impact on seafloor and deep sea ecosystems. Similarly, the geodynamic processes fuelling biological activity, and how these processes impinge upon the emission of geofuels, hydrocarbon formation and other resources including seafloor ecosystems, need to be understood. This Coordination & Support Action will develop the most efficient use of subseafloor sampling techniques and existing marine infrastructure to study the geosystem, its effects on the deep biosphere and marine ecosystems, and provide a comprehensive “white paper” and an open access web portal for a sustainable use of the oceans and a Maritime Policy."

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