28 June 2016 | Category: Svalbard

How toxic is oil at sea in the Arctic?

By Online team WUR

– By: Martine van den Heuvel-Greve –

Blog_Spitsbergen_2016_7_foto_1, oil

Making an oil in water solution. (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)

Resembling an oil spill

We use small crustaceans to test their sensitivity to oil, when dissolved in water, resembling an oil spill at sea. We conducted similar tests in the Netherlands with related Dutch species. The results will tell us whether the tests conducted in the Netherlands give a good picture of what happens in the Arctic (where testing is much more complex and expensive) and if knowledge on oil spills from temperate regions can be extrapolated to the Arctic.


Collecting gammarids. (© Tinka Murk)

For some of the tests we needed to make continuous observations, observing each half an hour to an hour, 48 hours in a row. It was great we were in a team of three people so we could divide the burden. This work is a follow up of the pilot tests conducted on board of the Ortelius during the 2015 Dutch SEES expedition to Svalbard in August 2015. The results from our current tests and the pilot tests seem to correspond quite well…


Gammarids in an aquarium. (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)


Sorting the gammarids. (© Tinka Murk)



The test is running. (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)


Observations during the 48-hour test. (© Martine van den Heuvel-Greve)














By Online team WUR

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