Despite developments in ‘clean energy’ sources, the global demand for oil continues to increase. Excessive oil winning has depleted oil wells around the world and has led to expansion into areas like the Arctic that are less accessible and where oil is less attainable. The harsh conditions in the Arctic (including cold temperatures, ice and long periods of darkness) and the long transport routes through the region pose a high risk of oil spills and seepage. Additionally, shipping in the Arctic is expanding with increased risks for oil spills due to accidents.
Although temperature has been found to influence the toxicity of oil in marine systems, most available information on marine oil spills focus on temperate environments. More information is therefore necessary to understand how oil will affect an Arctic marine system so that Arctic-specific management techniques can be developed.
This project focusses on the effects of temperature on the acute toxicity of oil. New data is produced through various laboratory experiments and examinations of both temperate and Arctic invertebrate test species to assess differences in sensitivity between regions. This provides an essential insight in how information from temperate studies can be translated to the Arctic.
By integrating the results and knowledge acquired during the experiments, we will develop an understanding of how oil will affect the Arctic marine system and how we can best manage the consequences.