The potential impact of underwater exhausted CO2 from innovative ships on invertebrate communities

  • Yuzhu Wei (Creator)
  • Lara Plath (Creator)
  • Anne Penning (Creator)
  • Maartje van der Linden (Creator)
  • Tinka Murk (Creator)
  • Edwin Foekema (Creator)



Liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ships equipped with an underwater exhaust system to reduce the ship's water resistance could form a future generation of energy-efficient ships. The potential consequences of the underwater exhaust gas to the local ecosystems are still unknown. Especially, the CO2 levels may locally exceed estimated future global levels. The present study exposes marine communities to a wide range of CO2 dosages, resulting in pH 8.6–5.8 that was remained for 49 days. We found that the zooplankton and benthic community were adversely affected by high CO2 exposure levels. In detail, (1) between pH 6.6 and 7.1 polychaete worms became the dominating group of the benthic community and their larvae dominated the zooplankton group. (2) Due to the reduced grazing pressure and the flux of nutrients from decaying organic material planktonic microalgae (phytoplankton) stared blooming at the highest exposure level. The periphyton (fouling microalgae) community was not able to take advantage under these conditions. (3) Marine snails' (periwinkle) shell damage and high mortality were observed at pH
Date made available2020
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Geographical coverageNorth Atlantic, Pelagos


  • Benthos
  • Biomass
  • Abundance
  • Elemental composition
  • Coast and continental shelf
  • Entire community
  • Laboratory experiment
  • Mesocosm or benthocosm
  • Mortality
  • Survival
  • Soft-bottom community
  • Temperate

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