Best of our wild blogs: 7 Jul 11

New version of NParks map of Pulau Ubin, verdict: I prefer the old map from Otterman speaks

'Plastic' spill on Tanah Merah
from wild shores of singapore

Read more!

NEA project to monitor coastal waters

Straits Times 7 Jul 11;

THE National Environment Agency (NEA) has started a two-year project to monitor Singapore's coastal waters for incidents like oil and chemical spills.

It is working with Dutch water institute Deltares to create a monitoring system that can keep tabs on changes in the water, and a computer system that can forecast the extent of marine disasters.

If successful, the system will, for example, be able to predict how far an oil spill will spread within six, 12 and 24 hours.

It will also monitor the waters continuously to look out for abnormal chemical changes.

Deltares managing director Harry Baayen said the project - nicknamed Project Neptune - will use eight large buoys equipped with sensors to collect data from coastal waters around Singapore.

The first sensor will be deployed by the year end.

Singapore straddles busy shipping routes and accidents have been known to happen.

About a third of the world's trade and half the world's oil trade pass through the Malacca Strait and the Singapore Strait.

In May last year, a collision between an oil tanker and a bulk carrier in the Singapore Strait spilled about 2,500 tonnes of crude oil into the sea.

When contacted, NEA confirmed that the project is ongoing but was unable to provide additional details.


Read more!

Aquatic Science Centre opens

Lynda Hong Channel NewsAsia 7 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE : Harvesting urban stormwater as a source of water supply could be possible with the newly-opened Aquatic Science Centre at Ulu Pandan.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan opened the Centre on Wednesday, the first of its kind in Asia.

The Aquatic Science Centre will be studying in-depth issues - such as whether there is a soil and plant type that can affect the quality of rainwater and what types of sediments best clean rainwater - with scientists, sociologists and even policy makers working together.

The aim is to be able to develop sustainable solutions for urban freshwater management.

Water quality tests - even from the nearby Ulu Sungei Canal - are an integral part of the work.

The 34-metre long bioflume with an adjustable wall is Asia's first such experiment facility. Its barricade can be expanded up to five metres wide, depending on what experiments researches want to conduct. The facility also allows for the speed of water to be adjusted and plants to grow, so as to find out what types of plants can help mitigate floods while cleaning stormwater.

Costing S$6.4 million, the centre is a joint initiative among the National University of Singapore, national water agency PUB and Dutch company Deltares.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "This is work being done, not only between countries, not only between universities, and private sectors, but also across the different fields of engineering, biology, chemistry, and medicine, and public health. "

He added: "New investments by water companies over the past five years will double the industry's share of GDP to Singapore to S$1.25 billion, and create additional jobs."

The centre is also open to the public from 8:30am to 6pm on weekdays.

- CNA/ms

Asia's first Aquatic Science Centre opens in S'pore
Esther Ng Today Online 7 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE - Crushed crabshells, water lettuces and pandan leaves - these can help improve water quality in a energy-efficient and eco-friendly way.

And these, along with other plants and natural organisms, will come under study at the new Aquatic Science Centre (ASC), to harness green engineering techniques that can treat urban runoff and improve Singapore's water quality.

Located at Ulu Pandan Canal, the S$6.4 million outdoor research facility, the first of its kind in Asia, was opened by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday, and will develop a sustainable and integrated approach to fresh urban freshwater management.

"For instance, pandan leaves help to remove nitrates and phosphorus which lead to algae growth and impair water quality; while sarggasum, a sea grass, filters waters much better than commercial filters," said Professor Vladan Babovic, director of the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA). "However, putting more plants in the canal slows water flow and increases the water level. The challenge is to make the canal look nice, improve the water quality but keep the risk of flooding at bay."

One highlight at the centre is the bio-flume - a huge trough of water, with plants, measuring 37.5m by 5m. A motor generates water currents replicating movement of water in a canal.

More than just a research facility, the ASC, launched by SDWA - a joint initiative between the National University of Singapore, PUB and Deltares, a Dutch research institute - will enable the public to get a clear view of all the research activities carried out at its premises.

Said Dr Balakrishnan: "It will inspire the young and educate more people about the challenges we face over water."

Also announced yesterday was Project Neptune by SDWA and the National Environment Agency, which will develop and deploy a national water quality monitoring and operational forecast system for Singapore's coastal and marine environment.

"For instance, we can find out what will the water quality near a beach will be like in six or 12 hours' time," said Prof Babovic.

With computer modelling, researchers can predict the rate in which an oil spill can affect the aquaculture, he added.

Project Neptune is expected to be completed in April 2013.

Want to know how rainwater is cleaned?
New Aquatic Science Centre allows you to see experts at work
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 7 Jul 11;

THE public will be able to watch scientists at work at the new Aquatic Science Centre launched yesterday.

The open-concept laboratory at Ulu Pandan - the first such in Asia - will be open to visitors from 8.30am to 6pm on weekdays.

Researchers at the centre said they will act as guides if possible but that sections may be closed off for ongoing work.

Set up to look at ways to clean rainwater, the centre features a large, adjustable water tank used to model different canals and drains in Singapore.

Scientists will also be testing different low-cost materials that can be used to filter the water, such as crab shells.

The $6.4 million centre is the work of the Singapore Delft-Water Alliance (SDWA), which comprises the National University of Singapore, national water agency PUB and Dutch water institute Deltares.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said at the opening ceremony yesterday that the open concept is meant to encourage public interest in how rainwater is treated in Singapore.

Schools and organisations can contact the centre to arrange group visits.

About 20 scientists from different fields such as biology, engineering and chemistry will work at the centre.

SDWA director Vladan Babovic, 50, said experts from different disciplines are needed to make sure the research can be used in canals and drains here.

He said adding plants to canals to treat rainwater, for example, could increase the risk of flooding because the plants may slow the water flow.

'We need different kinds of experts to work together to make sure we understand the pros and cons of what we do,' he said.

Research findings from the centre may be used in the drainage system to treat rainwater under PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters programme.

At a separate event earlier in the day, Dutch Ambassador Johannes Jansing announced a new Singapore-Netherlands Water Challenge to find solutions to water-related problems.

The competition will feature a specific challenge each year, for example, ways to find a business proposal for a more efficient way to filter water.

Open to students from around the world, the winning submission will net its author a grant to carry out the project.

The winner will also get an internship at one of the partnering organisations. There are currently 11 organisations including water company Hydronav.

The first challenge will be announced in September.

PUB separately announced a new programme to train engineers and architects in green building features.

It said property developers seeking to include green features in their buildings may need to submit their plans to be approved by graduates from the programme in the future.

Unique outdoor water research centre opens in Singapore
Tam Yu Ling Business Times 7 Jul 11;

AS part of the government's push to grow the water industry in Singapore, an outdoor research facility - the first of its kind in Asia - was launched at Sungei Ulu Pandan yesterday.

The Aquatic Science Centre @ Sungei Ulu Pandan (ASC) is a new $6.4 million outdoor research facility geared towards urban freshwater management. As part of the Singapore Delft-Water Alliance (SDWA), it is jointly funded by SDWA partners which includes the National University of Singapore (NUS), PUB and Deltares, and supported by the Environment Water Industry Development Council in a 60-40 ratio.

Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan hailed the launch of the ASC as a 'testament to the hard work put in by the SDWA'.

As the aim of the ASC is 'to understand how natural organisms in the ecosystem can be used to treat urban runoff and improve water quality', the launch of the ASC will also benefit PUB's Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme - aimed at beautifying our water catchment areas, he added.

With Dutch-based research institute Deltares stepping in as a fellow partner, the launch of the ASC will also intensify collaboration between Singapore and The Netherlands.

Commenting on the collaboration between the two countries, NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said: 'Singapore and The Netherlands are both relatively small countries with limited natural resources. In a certain way, this limitation in natural resources forced us to realise that the greatest resources we both have are those created by our own knowledge . . . Both Singapore and The Netherlands are global leaders in sustainable water management, largely based on knowledge we have created ourselves.'

The ASC also aims to create general public awareness on the importance of water, said SDWA director Vladan Babovic.

'As Singapore is the tenth most water-stressed country in the world, the launch of the ASC will be instrumental in educating the public on sustainable water management,' he said.

Positioned as the first of its kind research centre in Asia, ASC will host 20 researchers from various disciplines to carry out water research at the facility.

To facilitate research, the state-of-the-art facility is also well equipped with specialised laboratory tools such as bio-flumes, flow tanks and biosorption columns in its laboratory spaces.

Already, the SDWA has discovered some key findings that it plans to continue additional research on, in the ASC.

For example, in a pioneering research conducted by SDWA researcher Carol Han and her team of researchers two and a half years ago, it has been found that the pandan plant - a common aroma enhancer in many of our local desserts - is able to remove nitrates and phosphates in waterbodies.

This key finding will thus 'provide a cheap way to solve the problem of eutrophication in water', said Dr Han.

The research finding has since been submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals and is awaiting publication.

In line with the green agenda embodied by the ASC, the building of ASC comes with 'green' implementations put in place by township development company Surbana International Consultants. A key unique architectural feature is its wave-like roof top which is not just aesthetically pleasing but also ensures 'maximum capture of rainwater for research uses', said Frven Lim, who is principal architect of ASC.

As an acknowledgement of the eco-friendly features in ASC, the building has been awarded the Green Mark Gold Plus rating by the Building and Construction Authority.

The ASC is open to the public Mondays to Fridays, from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm. Admission is free.

Read more!

Singapore plans for unforeseen weather conditions

Imelda Saad Channel NewsAsia 6 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE : Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said governments will have to factor in the cost of insurance, infrastructure and technology when planning for unforseen circumstances brought about by unpredictable weather.

Speaking at the closing of the Water Leaders' Summit on Wednesday, Dr Balakrishnan said climate change is a "stark reminder" that "so called one in a hundred year events now occur at time intervals considerably less than a hundred".

"The point is whether we like it or not, we are going to get used to a more turbulent ride, a less predictable world, and there is a need therefore for us to insure ourselves wherever possible, and wherever sensible against these events. At some point, the cost is going to be paid either upfront in better preparation or timing, or worst, when the consequences of these unpleasant singular events occur," he said.

Thinking about security and resilience is just one key factor in ensuring the sustainability of Singapore's environment and water resources.

Others the minister highlighted include rational decision-making by politicians and integration of resources to ensure that pricing is right for water.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "We've had that advantage of not having the luxury to procrastinate or to fudge issues, but to make some hardball decisions which we have over the past decade. PUB is an integrated agency that looks after potable water supply, drainage as well as sanitation.

"The advantage of having a well organised system without cross subsidies and with rational decision-making is that we've been able to make sure that the energy and water equation in Singapore continues to be coordinated and delivered in an integrated form."

He also called on the private sector to drive research and development to improve water energy efficiency.

For example, the PUB is working with Keppel Seghers to construct a demonstration plant on Jurong Island to further understand and optimise a new desalination technology called Memstill.

The concept uses low grade waste heat to produce near-distilled water from seawater.

If successful, energy needed for seawater desalination could be reduced by two-thirds.

- CNA /ls

Read more!

17 ABC Waters projects get certification

Sara Grosse Channel NewsAsia 6 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE : Seventeen Active, Beautiful, Clean or ABC Waters projects received their certification on Wednesday.

Eight were private sector projects, a four-fold increase from last year.

The projects showcase sustainable ABC Waters designs which use natural elements to retain and treat rainwater run-off.

Speaking at the 2nd Water Sensitive Urban Landscape Seminar, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources, Grace Fu, said strong support from the public and private sectors is essential for large scale implementation of ABC Waters design features.

Singapore's national water agency PUB has also been working closely with educational institutions to incorporate ABC Waters designs into their curriculum.

In addition, PUB will be launching a new training programme targeted at professionals so that architects and engineers learn how to use ABC Waters designs in their developments.

- CNA/al

Private sector incorporating more ABC Waters design features
Sara Grosse Today Online 7 Jul 11;

SINGAPORE - Eight private sector projects were among the 17 Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters projects certified yesterday for incorporating environmentally-friendly water management features in their design, marking a four-fold increase in private sector projects that are eco-friendly.

The private sector is recognising the benefits of how their water design features can ensure water sustainability, said the PUB.

City Developments' H2O Residences, the first private development to integrate surrounding water bodies and park spaces, was one of the eight private sector projects that received the ABC Waters certification for their effort.

The private residential area features a rain garden, a bio-pond and a water terrace with wetland plants that functions as a filtering system to ensure that clean water is discharged to the waterways.

The Belysa executive condominium - which is jointly developed by NTUC Choice Homes and CEL Development - was also recognised for incorporating bio-retention valleys to treat rainwater run-off.

Speaking at the 2nd Water Sensitive Urban Landscape Seminar, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu said strong support from the public and private sectors is essential for large-scale implementation of ABC Waters design features.

"By the end of this year, about two-thirds of Singapore's land area will be water catchment," she said. "This continued increase in urbanisation calls for a paradigm shift in the way we manage rainwater. These features, when implemented widely, can also help in our overall drainage management as they slow down the flow of water into our drains and canals."

The PUB has been working closely with educational institutions to incorporate ABC Waters Designs into their curriculum.

Come September, the agency will also launch a new training programme targeted towards professionals so that engineers and architects will learn how to use water designs in their developments.

Read more!

Vietnam faces with difficulties in biodiversity conservation

The Philippine Star 6 Jul 11;

HANOI (Xinhua) – Biodiversity conservation in Vietnam is facing with difficulties when the number of threatened species is increasing and their living environment worsening, according to Vietnam's latest National Environment Report 2010 released by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Wednesday.

The report said in the 2007 national Red Data Book, 418 species of animals and 464 species of plants were categorized as threatened.

But the status has changed over the years, from vulnerable to endangered, then extinct, MNRE said.

Over the last decade or so, at least ten species (including one flora and nine fauna) have vanished in Vietnam. The number of globally threatened species of animals that were classified as endangered in Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) increased to 47 species in 2010 from 46 in 2004 and 25 in 1996, the report said.

Insider experts said that natural habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive alien species, pollution, forest fires and climate change are major threats to threatened species. In addition, poor state management of biodiversity is also a great pressure on them.

The large number of globally threatened species in Vietnam put the country in the top 15 countries worldwide with declining mammal species, top 20 for birds, and top 30 for plants and amphibians, the report said.

Read more!

Indonesian Government's Forest Map Incomplete: Activists

Fidelis E. Satriastanti Jakarta Globe 6 Jul 11;

A new map that identified 72 million hectares of primary and peatland forest as off limits to loggers failed to highlight key details necessary for ensuring its usefulness, activists said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Forestry’s Moratorium Indicative Map was described during its release on Monday as an integral part of the country’s two-year forestry moratorium, in exchange for which the Norwegian government has promised $1 billion in funding for schemes to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

But Yuyun Indradi, a Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner, pointed out that although the map identified the 55 million hectares of primary forest and 17 million hectares of peatland where no logging was permitted, it did not highlight the vast swaths of degraded areas available to businesses.

“The map was drawn up halfheartedly because it just colors in the areas of primary forest and peatland, but it doesn’t include the 35.4 million hectares of degraded land,” he said.

“It’s just as important to see where these degraded areas are that the government keeps talking about, so that businesses can manage them.”

He also said that simply coloring in an area on the map did not necessarily mean that the area in question was still pristine forest.

“The map still doesn’t distinguish between primary and secondary forests,” he said. “It shows primary forests in green, but there’s no guarantee that these areas will remain forested. The map should have been overlaid with maps for concessions, especially for mining, logging and plantations.”

The map comprises 921 smaller maps of forest areas on a scale of 1:250,000, and is a revised version of a similar map released in May that garnered criticism from environmental activists because it was on a far smaller scale of 1:19,000,000.

The total combined area of protected forest is also much lower than the previously announced figure of 96.1 million hectares, including 64.2 million hectares of primary forest and 31.9 million hectares of peatland.

Hadi Daryanto, the Forestry Ministry’s secretary general, said his office had already released a map of degraded areas two years ago.

“So what we’re doing now with this new map goes above and beyond our agreement with Norway,” he said.

“Under the terms of the letter of intent signed between the two countries, we are required to do four things for the transformation phase starting in February 2011. One of them is to set up a database of degraded lands, and we’ve had that in place since two years ago.”

Hadi said there were 42 million hectares of open areas but only 35.4 million hectares were considered economically feasible for investment.

He added that the ministry had opted not to include the degraded land data in the moratorium map because it could have made it seem that Norway was being too pushy in imposing terms on Indonesia.

“We’ll keep those maps separate, otherwise everyone will start making a fuss, saying that it’s all being done on Norway’s orders and not on our own initiative,” he said.

Abdon Nababan, secretary general of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), said the map was still far from ideal because it failed to show ownership of the land.

“It lists the areas as state forests, but within these forests are large areas of ancestral forests,” he said, referring to areas where indigenous groups are permitted to carry out subsistence logging and farming.

“And we don’t have the kind of technology to interpret the map,” he said. “We’re still checking whether the map shows any overlaps between state and ancestral forests.”

Read more!

Bangladesh trials African rice to boost food yield

Shafiq Alam AFP Yahoo News 7 Jul 11;

A high-yield strain of rice developed for Africa's drylands is being trialled in Bangladesh to help the country feed its teeming population in an age of climate change and extreme weather conditions.

Rice has been grown in Bangladesh's Ganges delta for thousands of years and the country was once home to 4,000 varieties of the grain, but it is unable to produce enough for its own needs, even without one of its frequent natural disasters.

Bangladeshi officials say Nerica -- the New Rice for Africa, developed around a decade ago by an institute in Ivory Coast -- could boost Bangladesh's food security as global weather patterns make that task more challenging.

The country initially trialled Nerica, which is drought-resistant and fast-growing, in 2009 and after better-than-expected field results last year a nationwide trial has been rolled out involving 1,500 farmers, officials said.

The state-run Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corp (BADC) imported seeds from Uganda and has distributed them to farmers across the country to test their performance in different conditions, its director M. Nuruzzaman told AFP.

"We have high hopes Nerica rice will boost our food security in difficult conditions," he said. "It has amazing qualities that most Bangladeshi high-yielding varieties don't have."

Nerica, originally intended to raise rice output in African countries, can be harvested in 90 to 100 days, requires limited water -- it was designed for Africa's drylands -- and is very high-yielding, he said.

In contrast, many rice strains now popular with Bangladesh's tens of millions of farmers require a large amount of water, forcing farmers, particularly those in the drought-hit north, to invest in irrigation systems and leading to sharp falls in groundwater levels.

Moreover, the highest-yielding rice varieties currently used in Bangladesh take between 140 and 160 days to harvest, according to the BADC, which provides some 70 percent of the rice and cereal seeds used by local farmers.

Nerica's shorter harvest period was what first prompted BADC to turn to the rice strain in hopes that it could solve a key dilemma in Bangladesh: how to make up for crop losses in the event of major natural disasters.

The South Asian country is home to 150 million people, one-third of them living below the poverty level, and needs around 35 million tonnes of rice a year.

But its maximum production capacity is only 32.25 million tonnes, according to 2009-2010 official figures.

The shortfall is imported from its Asian neighbours, but when floods, cyclones and other extreme weather hit, domestic rice production falls sharply, leaving the country vulnerable to food shortages.

"The idea is to use Nerica as a replacement crop in case the country is hit by mid-season or late-season floods or other disasters," said Anwar Faruque, director general of seeds at the Agriculture Ministry.

"Presently, we don't have a variety to make up the loss. But Nerica can fill the void because of its short harvest period," he said.

"It also only needs a little water, so it can be grown in districts (in the north) where we see persistent dry conditions," he said.

Bangladesh is one of the world's countries most vulnerable to climate change, experts say, and is regularly hit by cyclones, floods and other natural disasters.

The BADC's Nuruzzaman said that if the trial lived up to expectations the authorities would make the new strain available on the open market as early next year.

Some local experts have questioned the Nerica trials, however, saying they are being rushed ahead without the involvement of the country's main rice research agency, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).

The state-run BRRI is credited with inventing high-yield varieties which have tripled Bangladesh's rice production in four decades.

BRRI chairman Abdul Mannan told AFP that Nerica "looks promising" in Bangladeshi conditions and could help boost food security, but warned it was "too early" to give a verdict.

"It is a good attempt by the government. But we need to conduct stability tests across the year and across all weather and environmental conditions to see how good it really is," he said.

Read more!

Natural Iron Fertilization Influences Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off the Crozet Islands

ScienceDaily 6 Jul 11;

Geo-engineering schemes aimed at tackling global warming through artificial iron fertilisation of the oceans would significantly affect deep-sea ecosystems, according to research involving scientists from the United Kingdom's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) as well as former Ocean and Earth Science research students of the University of Southampton, which is based at the Centre.

Most scientists believe that the rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting largely from the burning of fossil fuels is causing the world to warm up. One proposed geo-engineering scheme aimed at mitigating global warming is ocean iron fertilisation, the ecological consequences of which are as yet inadequately understood.

Biological production in the oceans is dominated by phytoplankton growth in the sunlit surface waters. Through the process of photosynthesis, these tiny marine plants draw large amounts of carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere. When they die, some of the carbon assimilated in their bodies is exported to the deep ocean. Boosting this 'biological carbon pump' could in principle reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Phytoplankton growth in many areas of the open ocean is limited by the low availability of iron, despite the presence of high concentrations of other nutrients. Relatively small-scale experiments have shown that fertilising such areas with iron increases phytoplankton growth. Therefore, adding large amounts of iron over long periods of time should increase the magnitude of the biological carbon pump.

"To get a handle on how long-term, large-scale iron fertilisation might affect deep-sea ecosystems, we studied natural iron fertilisation off the Crozet Islands in the southern Indian Ocean," said research team member Dr David Billett of NOC.

During a research cruise aboard the RRS Discovery, the researchers compared two deep-sea regions about 460 kilometres apart and with water depths of around 4,200 metres. One of these regions received iron naturally leached from the volcanic islands, leading to a large phytoplankton bloom in the spring, whereas the other did not. Otherwise, the two sites were similar, and there were no physical barriers that could stop organisms dispersing between them.

The researchers collected animal samples from trawls and sediment cores, and used both still and video cameras to survey life on the seafloor. They also measured the amount of organic material sinking down to the seabed from the sunlit surface waters, and analysed its chemical composition.

They found that the seabed at the site enjoying natural iron fertilisation received more organic material over a longer period and of a higher nutritional value from above than did the iron-limited site. The sinking organic matter at the former site was also richer in carotenoid pigments important for sea cucumber reproduction. These differences reflected the contrasting productivity of the surface waters at the two sites, as well as the phytoplankton species present.

Due to better organic matter supply, the seafloor of the iron fertilised site supported a larger abundance of deep-sea animals such as sea cucumbers (holothurian echinoderms) and brittle stars (ophiuroid echinoderms related to starfish). In addition, whereas some sea cucumber and brittle star species were found at both sites, others prospered only at one or other site. This resulted in major differences in species composition and evenness, with the animal community of the seafloor at the iron-fertilised site resembling that of the productive North East Atlantic, more than 16,000 kilometres away.

"Our findings show that the timing, quantity and quality of organic matter reaching the seafloor greatly influences biomass and species' composition of deep-sea communities off the Crozet Islands, as it does in other oceanic regions," said Billett. "Because the amount and composition of sinking organic matter is affected by iron supply to the surface waters, it is likely that large-scale, long-term artificial iron fertilization, as envisaged by some geo-engineering schemes, would significantly affect deep-sea ecosystems."

However, whereas natural iron fertilisation increased ecosystem biomass, there was no evidence of damage due to reduced oxygen concentration at depth, which may assuage the concern that artificial ocean iron fertilisation might cause the seafloor to become a biodiversity desert due to lack of oxygen.

The researchers are George Wolff, Elizabeth Fisher, Jens Holtvoeth and Frédéric Chaillan (University of Liverpool), David Billett, Brian Bett, Tania FitzGeorge-Balfour, Ian Cross, Roger Shannon, Ian Salter, and Ben Boorman (National Oceanography Centre), and Nicola King and Alan Jamieson (University of Aberdeen). The research was supported by the United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council.

Journal Reference:

George A. Wolff, David S. M. Billett, Brian J. Bett, Jens Holtvoeth, Tania FitzGeorge-Balfour, Elizabeth H. Fisher, Ian Cross, Roger Shannon, Ian Salter, Ben Boorman, Nicola J. King, Alan Jamieson, Frédéric Chaillan. The Effects of Natural Iron Fertilisation on Deep-Sea Ecology: The Crozet Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (6): e20697 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020697

Read more!