This portfolio addresses the distribution and intensity of contaminants released by many human activities, the pressures these cause on the environment, the impacts they have on marine species, communities, economies and human health and well-being, and the potential mitigation of these impacts. The portfolio is foundational to supporting sustainability in a rapidly growing and diversifying national and international Blue Economy and it spans domestic and international waters, taxa, habitats and biota. It includes understanding the distribution, intensity and impacts from domestic and international activities such as shipping, including the discharge of waste, sound propagation and direct impacts through ship strike incidents, hydrocarbons and oil & gas (including produced formation water), as well as anthropogenic waste from land and sea-based activities, including plastics and nutrient run-off from aquaculture.
Domain Lead: Denise Hardesty
Conducting research to further our understanding, management and protection of coastal and marine ecosystems, whilst using scientific knowledge to empower community and governments to reduce litter entering our oceans.
Case Studies >
Environmental Effects of Seismic Noise
Seismic surveys occur as part of oil and gas exploration, with underwater sound waves produced by equipment towed behind a survey vessel penetrating the seafloor. Reflected sound waves reveal sub-seafloor structures that may indicate oil and gas deposits. Impacts on marine life have been reported, but consensus regarding effects is absent, due to variation in experimental conditions, the responses considered in individuals, the different life stages of species considered, and time periods for effects to emerge. We are using our expertise in fisheries and ecology, experimental design, and acoustics to investigate effects on marine species.
Environmental Effects of Decommissioning Oil and Gas Infrastructure
Decommissioning of offshore infrastructure is becoming an increasing issue in Australia and globally as more facilities come to the end of their productive lives. Infrastructure is required to be fully removed unless industry can demonstrate that the impacts and risk of other options, such as leaving infrastructure in situ, are acceptable and ALARP. In order to demonstrate this, industry requires information regarding impacts of decommissioning options, as well as information regarding alternative technologies to enable different decommissioning options to be considered feasible.
Decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure: liability or opportunity?
Can the rigs of today become the reefs of tomorrow? Read the June 2020 ECOS story, and see below how CSIRO is working with industry partners to explore the future of our oil and gas infrastructure.
Oil Spill Monitoring Handbook (Edited by: Sharon Hook, Graeme Batley, Michael Holloway, Paul Irving, Andrew Ross)
Provides practical advice on what information is likely required following the accidental release of oil or other petroleum-based products into the marine environment.