Episode 18 – Deep-sea mining: Risks, rewards, and resistance

Deep-sea mining is a topic of hot debate as groups argue over whether it will be good or bad for the countries where deep sea resources are found. On this episode, Masha Edmondson and Brandon Gertz explore the risks, rewards, and resistance deep-sea mining has sparked in three pacific island nations: Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, and Fiji. Along the way, deep sea experts Dr. Cindy van Dover and Ph.D. student Elisabetta Menini from Duke University help explain the environmental and human impacts of deep-sea mining and the actions that can be taken to avoid them. 

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Episode Hosts

Brandon Gertz

Brandon Gertz is a second-year Coastal Environmental Management Master’s Student at the Duke University Marine Lab.  His work is focused on helping people appreciate and connect to the deep ocean, and his Master’s Project helped identify companies with possible future connections to deep-sea mining. Brandon has also supported Seas the Day’s Whale Pod series as an editor and was excited by the chance to record this time! 

 Twitter: @BrandonGertz1 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-gertz-1b597b138/  


Masha Edmondson

Masha Edmondson is a second-year Master of Coastal Environmental Management student at the Nicholas School, where she focuses on how the use of unoccupied aerial systems can improve scientific accuracy in understanding and predicting cetacean behavior advised by Dr. Dave Johnston. She also works with the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab on research and communication about marine spatial planning on the high seas, the blue economy, marine mammals, and ecological and biologically significant areas (EBSAs). She will use the skills gained in her master’s program throughout her career in marine conservation. 


Dr. Van Dover

Cindy Van Dover, Harvey W. Smith Professor of Biological Oceanography and Director of Graduate Studies, Marine Science & Conservation 

Dr. Van Dover is a deep-sea biologist with an interest in ocean exploration and the ecology of chemosynthetic ecosystems. She began her work in this field in 1982, joining the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. On receiving her Ph.D. in 1989, Van Dover joined the group that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. She qualified as pilot in 1990 and was pilot-in-command of 48 dives. Her current research focuses primarily on the study of biodiversity, biogeography, and connectivity of invertebrates from chemosynthetic ecosystems and invertebrate functional anatomy.  in addition, she is active in developing pre-industrialization policy and management strategies for deep-sea resources. She is currently the Harvey W Smith Distinguished Professor of Biological Oceanography and Chair of the Division of Marine Science and Conservation at Duke University. 

Elisabetta Menini
Elisabetta Menini, 2nd year PhD student 
Betta is a second year PhD student co-advised by Pat Halpin and Cindy Lee Van Dover. She is a Fulbright student from Italy with two maters and professional experiences in marine biology and maritime spatial planning. Her interests include deep sea management and conservation, particularly in seabed mining governance and regulation in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJs). 

Twitter: @BettaMenini 

YouTube: With Betta is Better 

Series Host

Lisa Campbell head shot

Dr. Lisa Campbell hosts the Conservation and Development series. The series showcases the work of students who produce podcasts as part of their term projects. Lisa introduced a podcast assignment after 16 years of teaching, in an effort to direct student energy and effort to a project that would enjoy a wider audience.

Episode 18 flyer

Supplemental material for this episode