Deep-Sea Litter Study Using Deep-Sea Observation Tools

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Interdisciplinary Studies on Environmental Chemistry—Marine Environmental Modeling & Analysis,Eds., K. Omori, X. Guo, N. Yoshie, N. Fujii, I. C. Handoh, A. Isobe and S. Tanabe, pp. 261–269. by TERRAPUB, 2011.Deep-Sea Litter Study Using Deep-Sea Observation ToolsHiroshi MIYAKE1,2, Haruka SHIBATA1 and Yasuo FURUSHIMA21Kitasato University, Okirai 160-4, Sanriku, Ofunato, Iwate 022-0101, Japan2Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC),Natsushima-cho 2-15, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan(Received 1 November 2010; accepted 20 December 2010)Abstract—Marine litter is a big social problem that crosses national boundaries.Little is known about how deep-sea litter is distributed and how it accumulates,and moreover how it affects the deep-sea floor and deep-sea animals.The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)operates many deep-sea observation tools, e.g., manned submersibles, ROVs,AUVs and deep-sea observatory systems. Over 4860 deep-sea dives of theseresearch submersibles have been conducted. All dives have been recorded onvideotape and stored as a film library. Some of them have been listed in adatabase and opened to the public via the WEB. Deep-sea litter can be foundon that video footage and in the database. We can observe changes of deep-sealitter accumulation across the years using the film library and can collect deepsea litter in situ with environmental data and samples using researchsubmersibles. It is essential for deep-sea litter studies to use such deep-seaobservation systems and the data collected in past times from deep-seaobservation systems.Keywords: deep-sea litter, ROV, submersible, AUV, Video analysisINTRODUCTIONMarine litter, in particular floating and beach litter are recognized as big socialproblems that cross national boundaries (Criddle et al., 2009; Galgani et al.,2010). This litter is visible, therefore anyone who sees litter at sea or on the beachcan easily realize the seriousness of the matter. Therefore, many studies andactivities have been conducted concerning such maritime litter. However, floatinglitter can sink to the bottom, because of degradation or attachment of biofilms ofbacteria, algae and large sessile organisms, predation by animals or for otherunknown reasons (Moore et al., 2001; Graham and Thompson, 2009; Gregory,2009; Ryan et al., 2009; Webb et al., 2009; Jacobsen et al., 2010; Law et al.,2010). Marine litter on the sea floor is not visible to the public, and this invisiblecharacter has kept our focus away from litter on the sea floor. Seabed litter hasbeen studied from shallow waters to the deep-sea floor. Studies of litter of the seafloor have been conducted by snorkeling, SCUBA, trawl surveys, sonar, andsubmersibles and ROVs (Galgani et al., 1996, 2000; Spengler and Costa, 2008;261

262H. M IYAKE et al.Table 1. Number of deep-sea dives from April, 1982 to August, 2010.Research submersiblesShinkai 2000 (retired)Dolphin-3K (retired)Shinkai 6500Kaiko (retired) and Kaiko-7000IIHyper-DolphinNumber of dives141157612164811177Keller et al., 2010; Watters et al., 2010). Surveys using snorkeling and SCUBAare limited to shallow waters and small areas. Surveys using sonar are good forsearching over large areas but are not high in resolution (Stevens et al., 2000;Spengler and Costa, 2008). Using ROVs or submersibles entails high costs andit is therefore difficult to use these submersibles or ROVs multiple times. Studieson the sea floor typically focus on continental shelves. The best way is a trawlsurvey, because it covers a large area and can collect a large amount of litter foranalysis (Spengler and Costa, 2008). However, research into the deeper sea flooris restricted and information about in situ deep-sea benthic litter comes only fromthe visual data using deep-sea observation tools like submersibles. Since 1996,submersibles or ROVs have been used to investigate benthic litter on thecontinental slope and at abyssal depths (Galgani et al., 1996, 2000; Watters et al.,2010). Watters et al. (2010) showed quantitative data for benthic litter (20 365m depth) off California using the submersible Delta by analyzing the archivedvideo for the dives. The study demonstrated that submersibles and the videoarchive of their dives were effective tools for deep-sea litter research. Howeverthat study did not cover deeper sea floor areas, though most of the ocean sea flooris over 3000 m depths. Even now, little is known about how deep-sea litter isdistributed and how it accumulates, and moreover how it affects the deep-seafloor and deep-sea animals.The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)has operated and still operates many deep-sea observation tools, e.g., the mannedsubmersibles Shinkai 2000 and Shinkai 6500, the ROVs Dolphin-3K, HyperDolphin, Kaiko, Kaiko-7000II and ABISMO, the AUV URASHIMA and theUROV PICASSO and three deep-sea observatory system off Tokachi, Hokkaido,Off Hatsushima, Sagami Bay, and off Muroto, Kochi. These research submersiblescan dive up to 11000 m. Much litter on the deep-sea floor has been observed andsome has been collected in situ. 4861 deep-sea dives of these research submersibleshave been conducted in Japanese waters mainly since 1982 until the end ofAugust 2010 (Table 1). All dives have been recorded on videotape and stored asa film library. Some of them have been recorded in a database and opened to thepublic via the WEB. Deep-sea litter can be found on that video footage and in thedatabase. Given the expense and logistical difficulties associated with submersibleresearch, effort should be made to extract the most information possible from alldeep-sea dives (Hunt and Lindsay, 1999).

Deep-Sea Litter Study263The aim of this study is to observe how much litter exists on the seafloor atabyssal depths, the effects of deep-sea litter on deep-sea organisms, and to showthe potential possibility for deep-sea litter studies using deep-sea observationsystems.MATERIALS AND METHODSTo observe deep-sea litter, three dive videos recorded off Sanriku, Iwate,Japan, were used. These videos were ROV Dolphin 3K #294 Dive (299 400 mdepth, observation time: 5:31:51), manned submersible Shinkai 2000 #636 Dive(1086 1147 m depth, observation time: 4:44:04) and ROV Kaiko #242 Dive(1682 1753 m depth, observation time: 5:36:13) from the film library stored atJAMSTEC. Deep-sea litter was counted and the types of material identified alongwith the environmental data (occurrence time, depth, bottom material, bottomcondition, animals on or around the litter). Observed litter was classified asplastic, metal, glass, sunken wood, fishing tackle or others.The Deep-sea video database and Deep Sea Image Database on the homepage of GODAC (Global Oceanographic DAta Center) were used for searchingfor deep-sea litter. The URL of the GODAC database is /. This database site has Japanese pages andEnglish pages. We ran a search for deep-sea litter using the key words, litter or(gomi in Japanese) at the database site. There were useful data records in thesearch results. The data includes cruise number, dive point, latitude, longitude,depth, type of submersible, dive number, date of dive, type of camera, and serialnumber of dive video. We checked all the data and identified the types of materialwith the associated environmental data. All data were input into a MicrosoftExcel worksheet, and converted from the Microsoft Excel file (xls) to a kml filewhich is able to be imported into Google Earth. The web site for conversion froman xls file to a kml file was located at kml files were imported into Google Earth and the positions of deepsea litter were plotted on the Google Earth map.RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONStudies on deep sea litter at abyssal depths have been conducted using trawlnets and submersibles at depths of up to 4614 m (Galgani et al., 1995, 1996, 2000,2010; Spengler and Costa, 2008; Keller et al., 2010; Watters et al., 2010). Thisstudy is the first report that shows evidence of much anthropogenic litter foundin abyssal areas at more than 5000 m depth.Much litter was observed in the video record of all three dives. There were147, 24, and 48 litter records in Dolphin 3K #294 Dive, Shinkai 2000 #636 Diveand Kaiko #242 Dive, respectively. The largest group of deep-sea litter wasplastics, followed by sunken wood, metal and fishing tackle (Fig. 1). Much litterwas also found on the GODAC database. 301 litter records were hit by the keyword,. Some of them were the same record with a different camera angle, sothe actual number of litter records was 252. The distribution of litter is shown in

264H. M IYAKE et al.Fig. 1. Composition of deep-sea litter observed from deep-sea videos obtained from submersibles.Fig. 2. Deep-sea litter map plotted using the data from the GODAC deep-sea video database.Fig. 2. This observed distribution of deep-sea litter was affected by the type ofdeep-sea research being conducted, biology, chemistry, geology, fisheries,seismology, earth science, and so on. However we were able to obtain muchinformation on deep-sea litter at abyssal depths. The maximum depth record wasfor a waste can at a depth of 7216 m in the Ryukyu trench. Most of the deep-sealitter was plastic (Fig. 3). Accumulation of plastic bags was observed at a depth

Deep-Sea Litter Study265Fig. 3. Bar chart of the number of deep-sea litter observations in the GODAC deep-sea videodatabase.of 2176 m in a deep-sea valley in Suruga Bay and at a depth of 6272 m in the gapmade by a big earthquake in the Japan Trench, off Sanriku (Fig. 4). These resultsdemonstrate that it is an effective use of deep-sea submersibles for studying deepsea litter to observe in places where fishing nets can not trawl, e.g., deep-seavalleys, outcrops of base rock, cliffs and gaps.There are over 4861 deep-sea dive videos in the film library of JAMSTEC.Most of them were conducted in Sagami Bay (maximum depth is about 1500 m)which is one of the deepest bays in Japan and is next to Tokyo Bay, because therehave been many studies on the cold seep ecosystem off Hatsushima Island at adepth of 1000 m. A total of 316 dives were conducted in Sagami Bay by theShinkai 2000 and Dolphin 3K from 1982 to 2002. Fig. 5 shows that much videofootage of deep-sea dives in the same Bay in different years have been stocked.Other submersibles, such as the Shinkai 6500 and Hyper Dolphin have also been

266H. M IYAKE et al.Fig. 4. Accumulation of deep-sea litter. a: Japan Trench (6272 m depth) in Shinkai 6500 #67 Dive1991.07.15, b: Suruga Bay (2170 m) in Shinkai 6500 #58 Dive 1991.06.13.adding deep-sea dives in Sagami Bay since 2002. We can analyze the chronologicalchange of accumulation of deep-sea litter in this bay using the accumulated videolibrary. A video library can play an important role in allowing us to observe thepast like a time machine. Moreover, video analysis on deep-sea litter does notrequire high monetary outlay like using deep-sea submersibles for new studies.It is important to establish a useful database of submersible-collected observations(Hunt and Lindsay, 1999). The database of GODAC may be one of these usefuldatabases, but this database must be used not only for deep-sea litter study butalso for all science purposes more efficiently.The places where deep-sea litter accumulated was almost always on a muddysediment bottom where sea cucumbers such as Scotoplanes globosa, Enypniasteseximia, Peniagone sp. etc. were found frequently. This environment may onlyhave small tidal currents and it is easy to accumulate nutrient-rich sediments andanthropogenic litter. The place where deep-sea litter accumulated was the sameplace where deep-sea benthic animals lived! Deep-sea litter was also utilized bysessile organisms. Sea anemones and feather stars were found attached to deepsea litter. Interestingly, many predatory tunicates, Megalodicopia hians, werefound attached to deep-sea litter in Toyama Bay (Fig. 6a). Predatory tunicatesneed a hard substrate upon which to attach for their existence. The habitat ofpredatory tunicates is usually outcrops of base rock (Fig. 6b). So they cannot liveon soft bottoms. However, there is soft sediment where predatory tunicate can notinhabit visible in Fig. 6a. The tunicates in Fig. 6a are attached to a fishing net andon something else made by plastic. Hitch-hiking of animals on floating orsuspended litter (Aliani and Molcard, 2003; Gregory, 2009) can also transportshallow water animals to deep-sea environments. This shows how deep-sea litterfrom our daily life can function as a substrate for sessile organisms in places theywould otherwise be unable to inhabit.Plastics are the major category of deep-sea litter but have the ability toadsorb chemicals and contain additives such as endocrine disturbing chemicals(Teuten et al., 2009). Marine litter can be ingested by many marine organisms,

Deep-Sea Litter Study267Fig. 5. Bar chart of annual number of deep-sea dives using the manned-submersible Shinkai 2000and the ROV Dolphin-3K in Sagami Bay.Fig. 6. Predatory tunicate, Megalodicopia hians. a: Predatory tunicates attached to a fishing netlying on the soft sediment bottom. b: Natural habitat of predatory tunicates.

268H. M IYAKE et al.bacteria, zooplankton, fishes, sea turtles, birds, marine mammals, etc. (Moore etal., 2001; Thompson et al., 2004; Criddle et al., 2009; Graham and Thompson,2009; Gregory, 2009; Oehlmann et al., 2009; Ryan et al., 2009; Webb et al., 2009;Galgani et al., 2010; Jacobsen et al., 2010; Sekiguchi et al., 2010a, b). There isa biological pump in marine ecosystems. The biological pump accelerates thetransport of organic matter. Therefore, once any organisms intake any chemicalsthrough ingesting floating or suspending anthropogenic litter, the chemicals maybe transported from the surface to the deep-sea floor easily and quickly.Accumulation of those plastics on the deep-sea floor also transports thesechemicals from surface waters to the deep-sea bottom and thence to deep-seaorganisms that used to be remote from our daily life.The study of deep-sea litter using submersibles has the difficulty of theexpense and logistical problems. However, this study shows that in situ visualdata collected from observations by manned submersibles, ROVs, AUVs, towedcamera arrays, and deep-sea observatory systems is useful for the study of deepsea litter at abyssal depths at low cost.Acknowledgments—We sincerely thank the captain and crew of the R/V Natsushima, R/V Kaiyo, and the R/V Yokosuka and the commander, pilots, and operations teams of themanned submersible Shinkai 2000, Shinkai 6500, the ROV Dolphin 3K and the ROVHyper-Dolphin for their dedicated efforts. We also thank Touko Kaneshi, MakotoNakamura and staffs of GODAC for giving information about the video database andHirotaka Nakamura of JAMSTEC for giving useful information about the deep-sea divingvideo archives. We also thank Dr. Dhugal J. Lindsay of JAMSTEC for editing assistanceand valuable comments.REFERENCESAliani, S. and A. Molcard (2003): Hitch-hiking on floating marine debris: macrobenthic species inthe Western Mediterranean Sea. Hydrobiologia, 503, 59–67.Criddle, K. R., A. F. Amos, P. Carroll, J. M. Coe, M. J. Donohue, J. H. Harris, K. Kim, A.MacDonald, K. Metcalf, A. Rieser and N. M. Young (2009): Tackling Marine Debris in the 21stCentury. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.Galgani, F., S. Jaunet, A. Campillo, X. Guenegen and E. His (1995): Distribution and abundance ofdebris on the continental-shelf of the north-western Mediterranean-Sea. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 30,713–717.Galgani, F., A. Souplet and Y. Cadiou (1996): Accumulation of debris on the deep sea floor off theFrench Mediterranean coast. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 142, 225–234.Galgani, F., J. P. Leaute, P. Moguedet, A. Souplet, Y. Verin, A. Carpentier, H. Goraguer, D.Latrouite, B. Andral, Y. Cadiou, J. C. Mahe, J. C. Poulard and P. Nerisson (2000): Litter on thesea floor along European coasts. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 40, 516–527.Galgani, F., D. Fleet, J. V. Franeker, S. Katsanevakis, T. Maes, J. Mouat, L. Oosterbaan, I. Poitou,G. Hanke, R. Thompson, E. Amato, A. Birkun and C. Janssen (2010): Marine StrategyFramework Directive—Task Group 10 Report Marine Litter. Scientific and Technical ResearchSeries. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities: 48, Luxembourg.Graham, E. R. and J. T. Thompson (2009): Deposit- and suspension-feeding sea cucumbers(Echinodermata) ingest plastic fragments. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 368, 22–29.Gregory, M. R. (2009): Environmental implications of plastic debris in marine settings—entanglement,ingestion, smothering, hangers—on, hitch-hiking and alien invasions. Philos. T. Roy. Soc. B,364, 2013–2025.

Deep-Sea Litter Study269Hunt, J. C. and D. J. Lindsay (1999): Methodology for creating an observational database ofmidwater fauna using submersibles: Results from Sagami Bay, Japan. Plankton Biol. Ecol., 46,75–87.Jacobsen, J. K., L. Massey and F. Gulland (2010): Fatal ingestion of floating net debris by two spermwhales (Physeter macrocephalus). Mar. Pollut. Bull., 60, 765–767.Keller, A. A., E. L. Fruh, M. M. Johnson, V. Simon and C. McGourty (2010): Distribution andabundance of anthropogenic marine debris along the shelf and slope of the US West Coast. Mar.Pollut. Bull., 60, 692–700.Law, K. L., S. Moret-Ferguson, N. A. Maximenko, G. Proskurowski, E. E. Peacock, J. Hafner andC. M. Reddy (2010): Plastic accumulation in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. Science, 329,1185–1188.Moore, C. J., S. L. Moore, M. K. Leecaster and S. B. Weisberg (2001): A comparison of plastic andplankton in the North Pacific central gyre. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 42, 1297–1300.Oehlmann, J., U. Schulte-Oehlmann, W. Kloas, O. Jagnytsch, I. Lutz, K. O. Kusk, L. Wollenberger,E. M. Santos, G. C. Paull, K. J. W. Van Look and C. R. Tyler (2009): A critical analysis of thebiological impacts of plasticizers on wildlife. Philos. Trans Roy. Soc. B: Biol. Sci., 364, 2047–2062.Ryan, P. G., C. J. Moore, J. A. van Franeker and C. L. Moloney (2009): Monitoring the abundanceof plastic debris in the marine environment. Philos. Trans Roy. Soc. B: Biol. Sci., 364, 1999–2012.Sekiguchi, T., T. Sato, M. Enoki, H. Kanehiro and C. Kato (2010a): Procedure for isolation of theplastic degrading piezophilic bacteria from deep-sea environments. J. Japan. Soc. Extremophiles,9, 25–30.Sekiguchi, T., T. Sato, M. Enoki, H. Kanehiro, K. Uematsu and C. Kato (2010b): Isoration andcharacterization of biodegradable plastic degrading bacteria from deep-sea environment.JAMSTEC Rep. Res. Dev., 11, 33–41.Spengler, A. and M. F. Costa (2008): Methods applied in studies of benthic marine debris. Mar.Pollut. Bull., 56, 226–230.Stevens, B. G., I. Vining, S. Byersdorfer and W. Donaldson (2000): Ghost fishing by Tanner crab(Chionoecetes bairdi) pots off Kodiak, Alaska: pot density and catch per trap as determined fromsidescan sonar and pot recovery data. Fish. Bull., 98, 389–399.Teuten, E. L., J. M. Saquing, D. R. U. Knappe, M. A. Barlaz, S. Jonsson, A. Bjorn, S. J. Rowland,R. C. Thompson, T. S. Galloway, R. Yamashita, D. Ochi, Y. Watanuki, C. Moore, P. H. Viet,T. S. Tana, M. Prudente, R. Boonyatumanond, M. P. Zakaria, K. Akkhavong, Y. Ogata, H. Hirai,S. Iwasa, K. Mizukawa, Y. Hagino, A. Imamura, M. Saha and H. Takada (2009): Transport andrelease of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Philos. Trans Roy. Soc.B: Biol. Sci., 364, 2027–2045.Thompson, R. C., Y. Olsen, R. P. Mitchell, A. Davis, S. J. Rowland, A. W. G. John, D. McGonigleand A. E. Russell (2004): Lost at sea: Where is all the plastic? Science, 304, 838.Watters, D. L., M. M. Yoklavich, M. S. Love and D. M. Schroeder (2010): Assessing marine debrisin deep seafloor habitats off California. Mar. Pollut. Bull., 60, 131–138.Webb, H. K., R. J. Crawford, T. Sawabe and E. P. Ivanova (2009): Poly(ethylene terephthalate)polymer surfaces as a substrate for bacterial attachment and biofilm formation. MicrobesEnviron., 24, 39–42.H. Miyake (e-mail:

Little is known about how deep-sea litter is distributed and how it accumulates, and moreover how it affects the deep-sea floor and deep-sea animals. The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) operates many deep-sea observation tools, e.g., manned submersibles, ROVs, AUVs and deep-sea observatory systems.

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