50-19 Assessing the Impacts of Electromagnetic Fields on Aquatic Organisms
Tuesday, September 6, 2011: 1:45 PM
602 (Washington State Convention Center)
Both domestically and worldwide, there is a recognized need to develop renewable or so-called “green “energy sources. In the Pacific Northwest, particular emphasis is being placed on deploying industrial scale marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) devices such as wave and underwater turbines. MHK devices will be located in coastal, estuarine, and riverine environments where sensitive life stages of commercially, recreationally, or environmentally important aquatic species occur. A broad range of permitting and resource management agencies, as well as stakeholders of many varieties, have raised concerns about the environmental harm these devices may cause. Potential stressors that may associated with MHK devices include acoustics (noise), physical strike (collision), chemical exposure associated with anti-fouling agents and exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) that are produced by underwater power transmission cables. Although EMF produced by cables is expected to be less than 10 µT, many aquatic organisms are known to use the earth’s magnetic field as a navigational aide, indicating an ability to detect and respond to small changes in magnetic field intensity or inclination angle. With regard to effects on aquatic organisms, there is only limited data that suggests the potential for effects on reproduction and embryogenesis. This talk will present an overview of the potential impacts of EMF exposure on fish marine invertebrates and present results from ongoing laboratory studies using several fish and marine invertebrate species.