The MBARI Environmental Sampling Processor (ESP) comes to Europe for the first time to visit IRIS
31.03.2016IRIS-Environment is working with MBARI researchers from California using next generation DNA-based monitoring instruments which can detect even microscopic oil occurrence in seawater. It is the first time these highly advanced oceanographic instruments have been in Europe.
The ESP was developed by MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
), a world center for advanced research and education in ocean science and technology. Two ESPs have been transported to the IRIS research facilities in Mekjarvik and for three weeks scientists from both institutes are testing the ability of genetic sensors to detect oil in seawater.
The ESP is robotized environmental equipment for use on-site and provides real time analysis of water samples. In this project it will be used for environmental monitoring of offshore petroleum activities and in particular for detection of oil leakage in remote areas, e.g. the Arctic
Crude oil changes the natural composition of bacterial communities in the sea water and shortly after an oil spill these communities are dominated by oil-degrading bacteria. The genetic markers used by the ESP will then recognize, identify and quantify these bacteria.
During the three weeks while the guest scientists from MBARI are at the IRIS premises, the researchers will work together to test the instruments using natural water samples from the fjord as well as performing laboratory experiments with an oil exposure simulating leakages.
This work is financed through the Research Council of Norway project MOAB
with additional grants from ConocoPhillips and Lundin.
For more information, please contact Chief Scientist: Thierry Baussant