COBRA logo

Accelerating Research of the Deep Sea to Inform Decision Making

COBRA is an international network-of-networks focused on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere – the rocky parts of the seafloor – to inform decision-making for emergent human uses of the deep sea like deep-sea mining and subseafloor carbon sequestration.

Why is this needed?
How is COBRA doing this?

© Ocean Exploration Trust NA134 2021

Why is this needed?

The Problem: The rapid development of industrial-scale tools for mining of deep seafloor mineral/crustal deposits has outpaced the scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of this activity, which could rival or exceed in scale the impacts of deep-sea fishing. Likewise, there is accelerating interest in carbon sequestration in oceanic crust as a strategy to mitigate climate change, but short- and long-term effects are poorly understood.

The Challenge: We need to accelerate scientific understanding of deep-sea crustal ecosystems and their resilience to inform decision making, prevent serious harm, and provide benefit to society. However, we are hampered by limited deep-sea research and monitoring assets, a relatively small community of scientists focused on these questions, and data access issues.

Our Solution: COBRA is an international, virtual research coordination network that brings together diverse stakeholders from academia, government, resource management, industry, and policy-making to identify priority issues and coordinate efforts to address them while training future generations in inclusive ocean exploration, policy, research, and making data more accessible.

Learn More

What is COBRA?

© Orcutt et al. 2020 Open Science Foundation


Bringing together diverse stakeholders to prioritize and plan research


Leveraging opportunities, supporting exchanges, and harnessing data


Bringing findings to policy-makers, industry, and the public


Training early career researchers in ocean exploration, science, and policy


Amount of ocean considered “deep sea”


Countries with deep sea (> 200 m water depth) within their Exclusive Economic Zone


Countries with access to their deep sea for scientific study


Amount of international seafloor currently under contract for mining exploration


Amount of US land area that is equivalent to the area under contract for deep-sea mining exploration in international waters


Amount of US land that has been impacted by surface mining

Latest Publications

More publications

Scientific guidance is needed now more than ever to inform emerging deep-sea industries to advise sustainability and prevent serious harm.

Beth Orcutt, COBRA Associate Director

© Ocean Exploration Trust NA134 2021

COBRA Partners

COBRA’s network-of-networks leverages the strength of partner organizations representing various international deep-sea stakeholders.

Go to Top