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Title: The sea grasses of the Moray Firth : their ecology and responses to adjacent industrial development
Author: Rae, Patricia A. S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 0317
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1979
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The intertidal sea grass populations of the Moray Firth are a valuable food source for migrating and overwintering wildfowl, but the survival of the sea grasses is threatened by continuing industrial development and human disturbance. The current distribution and standing crops of the two Zostera species in Nigg Bay have been determined and information has been obtained on their taxonomy and biology. For example, the Z. angustifolia population is maintained primarily by seed whereas Z. noltii is maintained by vegetative reproduction. Knowledge of such differences is useful for predicting the responses of Zostera to possible physical and chemical disturbances. Oil spillages and cleaning-up operations present a major threat to the sea grasses. Field and laboratory trials were carried out using Forties crude oil; two types of ship's oil; the dispersants BP 1100X and BP 1100WD; mixtures of the oils and the dispersants; and BP 'Oil Marshal'. Field results showed that one month after treatment with the oils, dispersants and mixtures, the cover of Z. angustifolia and Z. noltii was largely unaffected. 'Oil Marshal' however, is not suitable for protection of these shores because direct contact with the chemical proved to be very damaging, with the cover of Z. amgustifolia being reduced by as much as 90% on drying surfaces. Fortunately, most of Nigg Bay remains water-logged at low tide, which helps to reduce the penetration of pollutants into the substrate. Laboratory trials with oils, dispersants and mixtures demonstrated that, for all treatments, the water-soluble components by themselves depressed net photosynthesis in Z. angustifolia, and that the mixtures had a worse effect than either the oils or the dispersants. Therefore, if oil is deposited high up the shore, dispersants should not be applied to the oil because of the potentially harmful effects on Zostera of the water-soluble products draining down through the water-logged flats.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available