Research objectives and content
The main objective will be, from an ecotoxicological point of view, to develop some biomarkers that will be relevant to oil and gas industrial activities with some cold marine species. The following questions are adressed in the proposed thesis: 1) How does low temperature influence the uptake and effect of key components of oil, notably polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) ? 2) Are the responses of well-established biomarkers (the neutral red lysosomal assay, multi-xenobiotic resistance responses, cardiac activity and scope for growth) to PAH exposure in selected crustaceans and molluscs affected when organisms are held at low temperatures ? 3) Does exposure to PAH influence the ability of organisms to produce molecular responses to low temperatures?
4) Do organisms acclimated to low temperatures (i.e. those
living normally at low temperatures) exhibit differences in tolerance to PAHs compared to organisms which normally live at higher temperature? 5) Can biomarkers be used to monitor the impact of PAHs associated with discharges by the oil industry
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The objective is to carry out this research as a PhD Thesis in order to get specialised in ecotoxicology in low temperature marine environment and provide some scientific data concerning the potential impact of oil and gas industries activities on the fauna of these cold region. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The newest frontier areas for oil and gas Exploration and Production in Europe are characterized by cold waters: -either in the arctic environment of the Barents sea, where low temperatures are associated with seasonal sunlight activity -or in the deep waters of the North Western European Atlantic margins where low temperatures are associated to high pressures. The potential of these areas in terms of hydrocarbons is very high and probably constitues a significant percentage of Europe energetic reserves. Exploration and production of these reserves require relevant monitoring of its potential impact on sensitive environments, and biomarkers are today's best monitoring tools. Elf Petroleum Norge will suppOn this thesis work by providing technical means and access to relevent data.