Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research reveals impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton

26.06.2017

Marine seismic surveys used in petroleum exploration could cause a two to three-fold increase in mortality of adult and larval zooplankton, new research published in leading science journal Nature Ecology and Evolution has found.

Scientists from IMAS and the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University studied the impact of commercial seismic surveys on zooplankton populations by carrying out tests using seismic air guns in the ocean off Southern Tasmania.


This is an air gun test in Storm Bay, Tasmania.

Credit: Rob McCauley


This is a sonar image showing growth of a 'hole' in zooplankton after air gun discharge in panel b at point +

Credit: IMAS/Curtin University

The research found that the air gun signals, commonly used in marine petroleum exploration, had significant negative impact on the target species, causing an increase in mortality from 18 per cent to 40-60 per cent.

Impacts were observed out to the maximum 1.2 kilometre range tested, 100 times greater than the previously assumed impact range of 10 metres, and all larval krill in the range were killed after the air gun's passage.

... more about:
»Antarctic »Marine »Tasmania »marine ecosystems »sonar

Lead author, Curtin University and CMST Associate Professor Robert McCauley, said the results raise questions about the impact of seismic testing on zooplankton and the ocean's ecosystems more widely.

"Zooplankton underpin the health and productivity of global marine ecosystems and what this research has shown is that commercial seismic surveys could cause significant disruption to their population levels," Associate Professor McCauley said.

The study, jointly funded by Curtin University and the University of Tasmania, involved two replicated experiments carried out on consecutive days using a 1.6km survey line in Storm Bay, southern Tasmania.

IMAS Associate Professor and research co-author Jayson Semmens said a series of sonar lines run perpendicular to the air gun line were monitored prior to, and immediately after the air gun run.

"These sonar runs 'imaged' the zooplankton, and showed a lowered zooplankton presence starting 15 minutes after the air gun passed, with a large 'hole' in the zooplankton evident 30 minutes after the air gun pass," Associate Professor Jayson Semmens said.

This 'hole' or region of lowered zooplankton presence was symmetric about the air gun line and increased through time.

The abundance levels of living and deceased zooplankton were also tested in the same area, before and after the seismic survey testing.

"We counted the number of live and dead zooplankton collected in nets using a special staining technique and found that two to three times as many zooplankton were dead following the air gun operations than those collected before," Associate Professor Semmens said.

Associate Professor McCauley said he hoped the research would prove useful in assisting regulatory authorities to monitor and manage marine seismic survey operations, in understanding how these surveys impact marine systems and how we may reduce such impacts.

"Plankton underpin whole ocean productivity," Associate Professor McCauley said. "Their presence impacts right across the health of the ecosystem so it's important we pay attention to their future."

Media Contact

Andrew Rhodes
ajrhodes@utas.edu.au
61-362-266-683

 @IMASUTAS

http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/ 

Andrew Rhodes | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Antarctic Marine Tasmania marine ecosystems sonar

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

nachricht Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance
16.08.2018 | Howard Hughes Medical Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

3D inks that can be erased selectively

16.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>