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Research area: Environment

by division head Christian Collin-Hansen

Photo: Håkon Vold/Statoil

 

Highlights from VISTA projects within the area "Environment" in 2014:

Three projects under VISTA-Environment were completed in 2014, for a total of two projects running as of December 31.
  • The candidate developing the EcoSET tool finalized her project in the autumn of 2014. EcoSET is a software which rapidly models the ecosystem services which a land parcel provides. When planning projects involving the use of land areas, such as onshore oil and gas projects, the value of these areas may be altered or impacted and this has to be taken into account. The Local Ecological Footprint Tool, LEFT, developed through a collaboration between Statoil and Oxford University, estimates the ecological value of any parcel of land in the world. The EcoSET tool may serve as a valuable supplement to the LEFT tool. While the LEFT tool estimates the intrinsic ecological of value of a land area, the EcoSET tool quantifies the ecosystem services provided by the land area to humans. The latter may also be brought into an economical context, by pointing at the actual economic loss if the ecosystem services of an area are being impacted.
  • Preliminary results from the project investigating interactions between fish embryos and small oil droplets indicate that embryos of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) may be especially vulnerable to exposure to dispersed oil droplets. Haddock is an economically very important fish species in the N.-E. Atlantic. Results from this project will be utilized in a new risk assessment model named SYMBIOSES, which estimates a realistic exposure scenario for early life stages of fish (embryos and larvae) following a blow-out from hypothetical oil production facilities in the Lofoten area in N. Norway.
  • During her first year as a VISTA PhD candidate, the candidate studying how reduction of the Arctic sea‐ice cover impacts ice-associated top trophic Arctic animals has produced highly interesting results which has been accepted by high impact journals. Using biotelemetry devices to obtain data on animal movement and behavior, the project focuses on aspects such as habitat use, foraging behavior and spatial-temporal predator-prey relationships.
  • The candidate working on developing more sensitive methods for determining nitramines and nitrosoamines in water and soil, completed her work in the autumn of 2014. Nitramines and nitrosoamines are two classes of chemicals which may be formed as a result of amine emissions from CO2 capture plants. The candidate has done a remarkable job of optimizing the analytical workflow (i.e. pre-concentration, separation and detection) of a range of primary and secondary nitramines exhibiting different chemical properties including size, acid/base properties (pKa) and hydrophobicity. This has been a highly demanding project, nevertheless, the candidate and her team succeeded at improving central steps in the analytical workflow, in particular through identifying an LC-MS support material suitable for pre-concentrating secondary nitramines from fresh water samples. The findings are relevant for the on-going experiments of amine-based PCC at Technology Centre Mongstad, and should improve the quality of future environmental mapping and monitoring programs.
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