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Medical/biological study (observational study)

Effects of EMF emissions from undersea electric cables on coral reef fish.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2018; 39 (1): 35-52

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether exposure to static and 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields from undersea cables (power line) has an impact on local fish and its behavior.
Background/further details: Observations were performed at five time points during 2014 and 2015 to consider seasonal influences. Scuba divers conducted visual surveys on an AC and DC cable in water depth of approximately 5, 10, and 15 m respectively.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
AC undersea cable
Exposure 2: 0 Hz
DC undersea cable
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Type
Additional info AC undersea cable
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • AC undersea cable
Setup 1.59 A current in cable; cables have been deployed directly on top of the local coral reef ecosystem
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 401 nT - measured - 0.1 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 195 nT - measured - 0.5 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 78 nT - measured - 1 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 44 nT - measured - 1.6 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 33 nT - measured - 2 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 16 nT - measured - 3 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 8.9 nT - measured - 4 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 5.8 nT - measured - 5 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 3.2 nT - measured - 6 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 2.2 nT - measured - 7 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 0.4 nT - measured - 8 m distance from cable
electric field strength 319 µV/m - measured - 1.6 m distance from cable
electric field strength 318 µV/m - measured - 2 m distance from cable
electric field strength 305 µV/m - measured - 3 m distance from cable
electric field strength 290 µV/m - measured - 4 m distance from cable
electric field strength 271 µV/m - measured - 5 m distance from cable
electric field strength 254 µV/m - measured - 6 m distance from cable
electric field strength 234 µV/m - measured - 7 m distance from cable
electric field strength 225 µV/m - measured - 8 m distance from cable
electric field strength 210 µV/m - measured - 9 m distance from cable
electric field strength 204 µV/m - measured - 10 m distance from cable
Exposure 2
Main characteristics
Frequency 0 Hz
Type
Additional info DC undersea cable
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • DC undersea cable
Setup 2.53 A current in cable
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 559 nT - measured - 0.1 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 279 nT - measured - 0.5 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 168 nT - measured - 1 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 110 nT - measured - 1.6 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 88 nT - measured - 2 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 54 nT - measured - 3 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 38 nT - measured - 4 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 30 nT - measured - 5 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 23 nT - measured - 6 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 18 nT - measured - 7 m distance from cable
magnetic flux density 14 nT - measured - 8 m distance from cable
electric field strength 0 µV/m - measured - 1.6 m to 10 m distance from cable
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

  • cognitive/behavioral endpoints: behavior during the exact times of power transitions
  • fish species, size of single fish, and abundance of species (observations of divers with two count types: stationary point count within an imaginary cylinder of 15 m diameter and transect count 30 m along the cable)
Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

No behavioral differences were observed during the exact times of power transitions. Moreover, there were no significant differences in the species richness between current "on" and "off". Although more fish were recorded during the "off" periods for both count types, no statistically significant differences were present compared to the "on" period.
The authors conclude that further research is needed as low sample sizes and high count variability may have influenced statistical analyses.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Department of Energy, USA
  • Florida Atlantic University, Florida, USA
  • Nova Southeastern University, Florida, USA

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  • Khoshroo MM et al. (2018): Some immunological responses of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) fingerling to acute extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (50 Hz).
  • Gill AB et al. (2012): Potential interactions between diadromous fishes of U.K. conservation importance and the electromagnetic fields and subsea noise from marine renewable energy developments.
  • Ohman MC et al. (2007): Offshore windmills and the effects of electromagnetic fields on fish.
  • Bochert R et al. (2004): Long-term exposure of several marine benthic animals to static magnetic fields.
  • Debus L (1998): [Electrosmog in the sea by electric and magnetic DC fields - a review].