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The effects of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields (EMF) on the early development of two commercially important crustaceans, European Lobster and Edible Crab

Journal of Marine Science and Engineering|Petra Harsanyi, Kevin Scott, et. al.|April 21, 2022
United Kingdom (UK)Impact on WildlifeOffshore WindTransmission

This important study by marine scientists from Heriot-Watt University and St Abbs Marine Station found that EMF emitted from cables for offshore wind energy facilities caused deformities and reduced vertical swimming speeds of freshly hatched stage European Lobster and Edible Crab. The abstract and conclusionof the paper is provided below. The full report can be accessed at the document links on this page.  


Abstract

Proposed offshore windfarm sites could overlap with the brooding and spawning habitats of commercially important crustacea, including European lobster, Homarus gammarus and Edible crab, Cancer pagurus. Concerns have been raised on the biological effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) emitted from subsea power cables on the early life history of these species. In this study, ovigerous female H. gammarus and C. pagurus were exposed to static (Direct Current, DC) EMFs (2.8 mT) throughout embryonic development. Embryonic and larval parameters, deformities, and vertical swimming speed of freshly hatched stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae were assessed.

EMF did not alter embryonic development time, larval release time, or vertical swimming speed for either species.

Chronic exposure to 2.8 mT EMF throughout embryonic development resulted in significant differences in stage-specific egg volume and resulted in stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae exhibiting decreased carapace height, total length, and maximum eye diameter. An increased occurrence of larval deformities was observed ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

Abstract

Proposed offshore windfarm sites could overlap with the brooding and spawning habitats of commercially important crustacea, including European lobster, Homarus gammarus and Edible crab, Cancer pagurus. Concerns have been raised on the biological effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) emitted from subsea power cables on the early life history of these species. In this study, ovigerous female H. gammarus and C. pagurus were exposed to static (Direct Current, DC) EMFs (2.8 mT) throughout embryonic development. Embryonic and larval parameters, deformities, and vertical swimming speed of freshly hatched stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae were assessed.

EMF did not alter embryonic development time, larval release time, or vertical swimming speed for either species.

Chronic exposure to 2.8 mT EMF throughout embryonic development resulted in significant differences in stage-specific egg volume and resulted in stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae exhibiting decreased carapace height, total length, and maximum eye diameter. An increased occurrence of larval deformities was observed in addition to reduced swimming test success rate amongst lobster larvae. These traits may ultimately affect larval mortality, recruitment and dispersal. This study increases our understanding on the effects of anthropogenic, static EMFs on crustacean developmental biology and suggests that EMF emissions from subsea power cables could have a measurable impact on the early life history and consequently the population dynamics of H. gammarus and C. pagurus.

Conclusions

The data obtained from this study provides further evidence on the impacts of anthropogenic static electromagnetic fields on early development of marine invertebrates.

Our study demonstrates that 2.8 mT EMF exposure during egg development caused stage and species-specific alteration of egg volumes, likely to be attributed to irregular gating of membrane ion channels. We observed significantly smaller larval parameters in both EMF treated species and a higher occurrence of larval deformities and lower swimming test success rate amongst lobster larvae. These results suggest that EMF may negatively impact larval mortality, recruitment and dispersal. In contrast, EMF exposure did not appear to impact embryonic development time, larval release time, or vertical swimming speed for either species, or crab larval deformities and swimming test success. Differences found in this study on the effects of EMF on early development of H. gammarus and C. pagurus highlight the importance of species-specific sensitivity to anthropogenic EMFs.


As reproduction and early life stages represent a bottleneck of crustacean population, the vulnerability of such stages to anthropogenic EMFs expected around subsea power cables demonstrated in this study suggest that marine renewable energy developments could have a considerable impact on shellfish fisheries. To fully understand the populationlevel impacts of MREDs, further studies are required to assess the biological effects of EMFs
along with other stressors and environmental changes expected around these sites on all life stages of H. gammarus and C. pagurus.

Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.

Attachments

Jmse 10 00564

May 4, 2022


Source:https://www.mdpi.com/2077-131…

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