Registration deadline: 3 February 2023

The increasing exploitation of marine resources has prompted concern over the health of our oceans, including that of remote regions such as the deep seabed which holds substantial amounts of mineral resources. Commercial mining has not yet begun, but national and international governing agencies are under immense pressure to rapidly develop: 1) science-based regulatory frameworks, including how impact assessment of deep-sea mining projects should be undertaken, and 2) management plans that safeguard the protection of the biodiversity and services provided by these unique ecosystems. Environmental impact assessments have traditionally used taxonomic- based indicators of ecosystem integrity. However, emerging evidence strongly advocates for a parallel assessment of disturbance effects on the functions provided by faunal communities. Functional diversity metrics rely on measurable biological traits (e.g., morphological, physiological) of an organism and inform on that organism's influence and response to environmental changes and/or its effects on ecosystem processes. Thus, trait analyses have the potential to offer new insights into how to prioritize, assess risk, and develop conservation and management strategies for these unique ecosystems at local, regional, and global scales.

Through a combination of a 3-day workshop and associated pre- and post-workshop meetings, the FDmine workshop will bring together a group of 20+ experts on various aspects of deep-sea biology and functional ecology to generate the first ever integrative functional trait database of mineral-rich deep-sea environments. This workshop will set the basis for future deep-sea trait-based research by establishing a database that allows cross-ecosystem comparability in observations and support functional diversity assessments in areas rich in mineral resources.

Key Objectives

This workshop will be organized around two key objectives:

1) Review of the state-of-the-art and define a common terminology to describe the collection of functional traits that allow an efficient cross-ecosystem comparison of functions in environments rich in mineral deposits

2) Construct the first ever comprehensive list of functional traits scored for eukaryotic species from all benthic size categories (meio-, macro and megafauna) to be shared in an open-access database, and upgraded over time, as advances in this field progress.

Expected outcomes

The principal outcomes of this workshop will be shared in the form of:

1. A synthesis paper on the current state of knowledge on functional trait approaches in the deep-sea and applicability in the context of deep-sea mining impact assessment;

2. Publication in an open repository of a comprehensive database cataloguing the trait data associated with the workshop pilot exercise


To promote the participation of members of EuroMarine, particularly at an early career level, four travel grants will be awarded based on relevant experience in the workshop topic. Please contact the organizer directly to apply, including a short CV (max. 2 pages) and a motivation letter. Applications will be accepted until the 3rd of February 2023, and selection results will be informed by 10th of February 2023.

Expected impact

This workshop will generate original knowledge and data on functional aspects of threatened ecosystems from mineral exploitation. Approaches explored during the workshop and the developed framework will be of direct applicability to those involved in baseline and impact assessment studies in areas targeted for deep-sea mining. Moreover, the outcomes of this workshop will support prioritizing management and conservation strategies at both national and international levels.




UGhent, IFREMER, OKEANOS/University of Azores