Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

University scientists head to North Atlantic for oil spill study

Post Thumbnail

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen heading for the North Atlantic to test a pioneering piece of research equipment that they believe will help improve how deep ocean ecosystems function and respond to a major oil spill.

Resarchers will test the ability of organisms found in deep water environments to deal with the effects of a spill.

They will remove sediment from the ocean floor and keep the sample under the same high pressures experienced in deep water environments while carrying out experiments.

The scientists will be using the Multi-Autoclave-Coring and Experimentation Unit (MAC-EXP), which has been developed at the University’s Oceanlab facility and funded through a £500,000 grant from the National Environmental Research Council.

The experiments will take place aboard the deep-sea research vessel RRS Discovery, which will sail to the North Atlantic continental margins on May 13.

Professor Ursula Witte, who is leading the research, said: “The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a stark reminder of the risks attached to human activity in largely unknown extreme environments, and it was estimated that up to 1.1 million barrels of leaked oil may have accumulated in the sediment, contaminating a massive area of the sea floor.

“With oil and gas exploration taking place in deeper waters there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of deep-sea ecosystems to assess the potential impact and implications of these activities, to ensure the adequate management of deep-sea biodiversity and natural resources.

“Most deep-sea organisms live in the so-called piezosphere, the volume of the deep sea that is over 1000 metres in depth and at pressures of 10MPa or more, and it is the combination of inaccessibility as well as the sensitivity of organisms to depressurisation that account for our limited knowledge of the deep ocean ecosystem. MAC-EXP will help to improve our understanding.”

Dr. Stewart Chalmers, Technical Director of Oceanlab, added: “MAC-EXP is a unique system that is designed to enable us to capture accurate data on the ability of organisms to recover from major spills, by allowing us to remove sediment from the sea floor and keep it under the same conditions through an uninterrupted pressure chain that allows tests to be carried out at realistic environmental conditions.

“Our hope is that the system will mark a major step forward in our ability to understand the ability of organisms found in deep ocean environments to recover from a major spill.”

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts