Test Snow Crab Response to Seismic Stress

Principal Investigator:

Eirik Sonneland, Biota Guard AS

Start Date: February 2012

End Date: September 2013

Within Atlantic Canada, there continues to be concern that there is insufficient information on the potential effects of seismic noise on snow crab that have high commercial value.

BiotaGuard has developed a real-time monitoring system to measure biological impacts on marine organisms.  In 2009-2010 BiotaGuard conducted a field trial at Mongstad oil refinery in Norway to test the overall robustness of the Biota Guard system by monitoring the influence of process water discharges on caged test animals in an area adjacent to an oil refinery.  The field deployment campaign comprised three Biota Guard adaptive sensor arrays consisting of instrumented blue mussels and a suite of physical and chemical sensors. The stations were placed in close vicinity to the discharge and connected to shore by use of subsea cables, providing power supply and data transmission capability.

The analytical framework enabled comprehensive and effective interpretation of complex data and calibration of biosensor responses for the influence of external parameter variations. Despite low discharge concentrations at levels determined to have no environmental impact, the Biota Guard System correctly detected the highest daily discharge volume throughout the field test. The 5.5 months monitoring campaign demonstrated to the industry that the Biota Guard system is capable of providing the customer continuous track of environmental performance.

Based on an adaptive sensor array (an integrated combination of biosensors and chemical and physical sensors tailored for monitoring needs), environmental measurement data is collected in real time and analyzed by expert and research based software tools, thus continuously tracking and analyzing environmental effects The project team would like to examine whether the biosensor technology is capable of monitoring physiological and behavior traits in crustaceans and molluscs prior to, during and following exposure to seismic. If successful, the program would be expanded to further phases.