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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Laura Duran

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Laura's Project: Evaluating the resilience of sea surface and deepwater systems to recover from oil spills in the Faroe-Shetland Channel

One of the most catastrophic anthropogenic pollution events in the marine ecosystem are oil spills. With the rapid economic development and energy demand around the world, marine petroleum exploitation and transportation has increased steadily, and with it also the risk for catastrophic oil spills and detrimental impacts to marine ecosystems.

In the last years, an increase of oil activity and pollution in the North Sea has created interest in the study of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. The Faroe Shetland Channel is considered one of the most representative areas of the North Sea due to the increase in oil activity as well as because of the two currents, from the Arctic and from the North Atlantic that defines this region.

In this project a previous study of the microbial communities of the Faroe Shetland Channel will be extended and related to hydrocarbon concentrations, biodegradation kinetics and modelling the fate of oil in the event of a major spill in the FSC. The findings of this study will provide a better understanding of the consequences of an oil spill on marine ecosystems, to evaluate the microbial response and feed this knowledge into future oil-spill contingency plans.