Do subsea seismic surveys kill zooplankton?

14 April 2019 – David Fields, Steve Shema and Karen de Jong et al. (in the photo above) are working on a project to assess whether the airguns used in seismic surveys (for subsea deposits of oil and natural gas) kill zooplankton. To accomplish this we are using a Schindler-Patalas trap to collect zooplankton at different distances from the airgun blast.

Anne Berit Skiftesvik and Reidun Bjelland are working on another aspect of this project that will assess whether airgun blasts disrupt the spawning behaviour of Atlantic cod and/or affects the early development of their eggs (from fertilization through one day post-hatch) – see photo below.

More information about this project can be seen HERE.

An article about earlier work along these lines in which our team participated will hopefully be published soon:

Fields, D.M., N.O. Handegard, J. Dalen, C. Eichner, K. Malde, Ø. Karlsen, A.B. Skiftesvik, C.M.F. Durif & H.I. Browman. 2019. Airgun blasts used in marine seismic surveys have limited effects on mortality, and no sub-lethal effects on behaviour or gene expression, in the copepod Calanus finmarchicus. ICES Journal of Marine Science (in press).

David Fields with our 20 l Schindler-Patalas trap

Anne Berit Skiftesvik and Saskia assessing cod eggs in a cold, cold room