Increased oil and gas activities could combine with ocean warming and acidification to have a significant negative impact on marine organisms, a new study suggests.
A team of researchers led by Renée K. Bechmann at the NORCE Norwegian Research Centre conducted one of the first studies to explore the impact of multiple stressors in the marine environment.
The study’s lead author, Dr Maj Arnberg, carried out the research as part of her PhD under the supervision of Professor John Spicer and Dr Piero Calosi, both affiliated to the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre at the University of Plymouth, together with Dr Sam Dupont at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) at the University of Gothenburg.
Writing in Scientific Reports, a journal published by the Nature group, they say that effective management of local issues such as oil exposure from a spill situation could mitigate the detrimental impact of future global environmental changes.
And they believe international recognition of this fact would in turn empower and encourage local decision makers to act, increasing natural populations and environment resilience in the process.
Their working hypothesis was that while exposure to global and local drivers individually would significantly negatively affect larval early developmental stages, combined exposure would lead to a more severe impact than observed for single drivers.