Research Area: Environment

Assessment of the long-term effects of oil exposure on early life stages of haddock using transcriptomics and fitness observations

Project Number: 6161
Project Duration: 1. January 2013- 31. December 2015

Project Director: Erik Olsen, IMR


Identify potential biological consequences of oil exposure from acute accidental oil spill on gene expression, fitness and development in Atlantic haddock exposed to crude oil during embryo- and larval stages.


In Norway, there is an ongoing and high-profile public debate surrounding the possibility of opening the Lofoten-Barents Sea area for oil exploration. These regions are considered to be especially vulnerable since they also contain spawning  and larval-drift areas for several commercially important species such as -- Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), North East Arctic cod (Gadus morhua), and Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) -- and, therefore, there is understandable concern over the possible long-term impact on these renewable resources from an accidental oil spill.


Different acute oil spill scenarios will be used to model the spatiotemporal overlap of oil spill and early stages of fish in the Lofoten area -- and realistic exposure regimes will be designed -- from calculations based on data simulation from ongoing projects (SYMBIOSES and PRIBASE). Sampling of haddock embryo and larvae will take place at various development stages of interest and at different time points after oil exposure.

Expected results and relevance:

We aim at characterizing genome-wide gene expression profiles for fish exposed to oil pollutants compared to controls, by RNA-Seq (Illumina HiSeq 2000). Linking these findings to fitness parameters such as survival, growth and malformations will enhance our biological understanding of the short and long term effects of oil exposure, and thus, provide insights as to which pathways are influenced by oil exposure at different life-stages.

Read about Elin Sørhus' research in Aftenposten Viten here


PhD Elin Sørhus adding larvae to exposure tanks

PhD Elin Sørhus adding larvae to exposure tanks




E. Sørhus, R.B. Edvardsen, Ø. Karlsen, T. Nordtug, T. van der Meeren, A. Thorsen, C. Harman, S. Jentoft, S. Meier. (2015) Unexpected Interaction with Dispersed Crude Oil Droplets Drives Severe Toxicity in Atlantic Haddock Embryos. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0124376   


PhD: Elin Sørhus

E-mail: elin.sorhus@imr.no
Drammensveien 78 · NO-0271 OSLO · NORWAY
Tel: +47 22 84 15 00 / +47 415 10 974
E-mail: vista@dnva.no