We are pleased to announce publication of our third peer-reviewed paper of 2019 entitled: Characterizing the first wave of fish and invertebrate colonization on a new offshore petroleum platform, in the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Journal of Marine Science. This paper used Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) data collected during routine surveys before and after installation of a new offshore hydrocarbon production platform and pipeline in the North Sea. No previous publications have targeted colonization on brand-new structures, which can provide valuable insight into habitat attraction and ecological connectivity.
We observed rapid colonization of fish communities, with increases in species richness (S), abundance (N), and diversity (H′) over the first four days (the entire study period). By contrast, there was minimal change in motile invertebrate communities over the survey period. After trenching of a pipeline, invertebrate S, N and H′ decreased significantly, whilst fish S, N and H′ increased. This study is the first to report on the pioneer wave of fish and invertebrate colonization on Oil & Gas (O&G) infrastructure, thereby providing rare insight into formation of new reef communities in the sea. These short and opportunistic data are valuable in terms of showing what can be discovered from analysis of ‘pre-installation’ ROV footage of O&G structures, of which there are terabytes of data held by O&G companies waiting to be analysed by environmental scientists.
The first four authors are all OSC staff. OSC’s Managing Director, Dr. Victoria Todd lead the study, followed by Research Analyst Dr. Laura Williamson and Team Manager Sophie Cox. Co-Director, Ian Todd, was also involved. The last author, Professor Peter Macreadie, from Deakin University in Australia, teamed up with OSC for this, and for future scientific collaborative work. This is the third decommissioning paper Dr. Todd has co-authored with Professor Macreadie, the other two entitled Environmental benefits of leaving offshore infrastructure in the ocean and Quantitative analysis of fish and invertebrate assemblage dynamics in association with a North Sea oil and gas installation complex were published in 2018. Dr. Todd has a third ROV paper currently in review. All OSC publications are downloadable from the OSC website.
Victoria L G Todd, Laura D Williamson, Sophie E Cox, Ian B Todd, Peter I Macreadie, Characterizing the first wave of fish and invertebrate colonization on a new offshore petroleum platform, ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsz077, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsz077