Influence of offshore oil and gas structures on seascape ecological connectivity

McLean, Dianne L., Ferreira, Luciana C., Benthuysen, Jessica A., Miller, Karen J., Schläppy, Marie-Lise, Ajemian, Matthew J., Berry, Oliver, Birchenough, Silvana N. R., Bond, Todd, Boschetti, Fabio, Bull, Ann S., Claisse, Jeremy T., Condie, Scott A., Consoli, Pierpaolo, Coolen, Joop W. P., Elliott, Michael, Fortune, Irene S., Fowler, Ashley M., Gillanders, Bronwyn M., Harrison, Hugo B., Hart, Kristen M., Henry, Lea-Anne, Hewitt, Chad L., Hicks, Natalie, Hock, Karlo, Hyder, Kieran ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1428-5679, Love, Milton, Macreadie, Peter I., Miller, Robert J., Montevecchi, William A., Nishimoto, Mary M., Page, Henry M., Paterson, David M., Pattiaratchi, Charitha B., Pecl, Gretta T., Porter, Joanne S., Reeves, David B., Riginos, Cynthia, Rouse, Sally, Russell, Debbie J. F., Sherman, Craig D. H., Teilmann, Jonas, Todd, Victoria L. G., Treml, Eric A., Williamson, David H. and Thums, Michele (2022) Influence of offshore oil and gas structures on seascape ecological connectivity. Global Change Biology, 28 (11). pp. 3515-3536. ISSN 1354-1013

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Abstract

Offshore platforms, subsea pipelines, wells and related fixed structures supporting the oil and gas (O&G) industry are prevalent in oceans across the globe, with many approaching the end of their operational life and requiring decommissioning. Although structures can possess high ecological diversity and productivity, information on how they interact with broader ecological processes remains unclear. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the role of O&G infrastructure in maintaining, altering or enhancing ecological connectivity with natural marine habitats. There is a paucity of studies on the subject with only 33 papers specifically targeting connectivity and O&G structures, although other studies provide important related information. Evidence for O&G structures facilitating vertical and horizontal seascape connectivity exists for larvae and mobile adult invertebrates, fish and megafauna; 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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions, views or policies of their organisations but do represent the view of the U.S. Geological Survey. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or other organisations. This 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 https://insitenorthsea.org/. Open access publishing facilitated by The University of Western Australia, as part of the Wiley - The University of Western Australia agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians. Funding Information: This paper is the result of a study funded by National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI) with the NDRI having received funding from the Oil and Gas industry sector and Australian Government. Funding from the NDRI supported the core project team (authors DM, LC, MT, JB, KM, M‐LS). This funding source has not influenced any of the authors objectivity. We have no further potential conflicts of interest to disclose. Funding Information: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions, views or policies of their organisations but do represent the view of the U.S. Geological Survey. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or other organisations. This 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 https://insitenorthsea.org/ . Open access publishing facilitated by The University of Western Australia, as part of the Wiley ‐ The University of Western Australia agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Crown copyright and Commonwealth of Australia. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 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.
Uncontrolled Keywords: birds,ecosystem function,fish,hydrodynamics,invasive species,larval dispersal,marine megafauna,particle tracking,subsea infrastructure,global and planetary change,environmental chemistry,ecology,environmental science(all),sdg 7 - affordable and clean energy,sdg 14 - life below water ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2306
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2023 03:20
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2023 03:00
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/93772
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16134

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