Influence of offshore oil and gas structures on seascape ecological connectivity
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Offshore platforms, subsea pipelines, wells and related fixed structures supporting the oil and gas (O including threatened and commercially important species. The degree to which these structures represent a beneficial or detrimental net impact remains unclear, is complex and ultimately needs more research to determine the extent to which natural connectivity networks are conserved, enhanced or disrupted. We discuss the potential impacts of different decommissioning approaches on seascape connectivity and identify, through expert elicitation, critical knowledge gaps that, if addressed, may further inform decision making for the life cycle of O&G infrastructure, with relevance for other industries (e.g. renewables). The most highly ranked critical knowledge gap was a need to understand how O&G structures modify and influence the movement patterns of mobile species and dispersal stages of sessile marine species. Understanding how different decommissioning options affect species survival and movement was also highly ranked, as was understanding the extent to which O&G structures contribute to extending species distributions by providing rest stops, foraging habitat, and stepping stones. These questions could be addressed with further dedicated studies of animal movement in relation to structures using telemetry, molecular techniques and movement models. Our review and these priority questions provide a roadmap for advancing research needed to support evidence-based decision making for decommissioning O&G infrastructure.
McLean , D L , Ferreira , L C , Benthuysen , J A , Miller , K J , Schläppy , M-L , Ajemian , M J , Berry , O , Birchenough , S N R , Bond , T , Boschetti , F , Bull , A S , Claisse , J T , Condie , S A , Consoli , P , Coolen , J W P , Elliott , M , Fortune , I S , Fowler , A M , Gillanders , B M , Harrison , H B , Hart , K M , Henry , L-A , Hewitt , C L , Hicks , N , Hock , K , Hyder , K , Love , M , Macreadie , P I , Miller , R J , Montevecchi , W A , Nishimoto , M M , Page , H M , Paterson , D M , Pattiaratchi , C B , Pecl , G T , Porter , J S , Reeves , D B , Riginos , C , Rouse , S , Russell , D J F , Sherman , C D H , Teilmann , J , Todd , V L G , Treml , E A , Williamson , D H & Thums , M 2022 , ' Influence of offshore oil and gas structures on seascape ecological connectivity ' , Global Change Biology , vol. Early View . https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16134
Global Change Biology
Copyright © 2022 Crown copyright and Commonwealth of Australia. This article is published with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
DescriptionThis research was supported by the National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI Australia). We acknowledge the time contribution of all co-authors and additionally via research undertaken through the UKRI INSITE Programme including projects ANChor, CHASANS (NE/T010886/1), EcoConnect, EcoSTAR (NE/T010614/1), FuECoMMS (NE/T010800/1), MAPS, NSERC. DMP was supported through The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) funded by the Scottish Funding Council and contributing institutions. SNRB and KH (Cefas) were funded by Cefas and the UK INSITE North Sea programme.
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