The DiTail research project will investigate the exposure
and effects in the pelagic ecosystem in Norwegian fjords
resulting from marine tailing disposal (MTD), addressing the
thematic priority area in the MARINFORSK call: "Pollution
and other effects on marine ecosystems: The mineral
industry". There is an urgent need for improved knowledge
about the spreading of minerals processing waste and
associated chemicals, and their impact on ecosystems as a
whole and on individual species and populations. DiTail
addresses this need with the following research activities:
The project focusses on impacts in the pelagic environment.
However, the generated data and models will also provide
information for tailing implications on the sea floor, and
thus for effects on benthic ecosystems and impacts resulting
from deep-sea mining.
- Investigation of potential lethal and sublethal
effects of MTD on sensitive life stages of key species
in Norwegian fjord ecosystems under relevant exposure
- Experimental assessment of effects on molecular and
individual organisation levels.
- Development of biological models of individual
life-cycle energy budgets to infer effects of MTD on
development, growth, and reproduction.
- Assessment of flocculation potential of MTD and its
effect on spreading of mining waste.
- Development of models to simulate the physical
processes of spreading and deposition of MTD in fjords.
- Modelling the exposure and effects of egg and larvae
bioparticles in a fjord system to infer risk in terms of
reduced recruitment to local populations of the studied
models to identify the energetic processes targeted by
the various components involved in marine tailing disposal
(the physiological or metabolic mode of action). The effects
of single components can subsequently be used in the model
to make predictions for their combined effects. Comparing
the predictions to the actual result from mixture toxicity
testing will provide clear indications of whether
interactions (either synergistic or antagonistic) should be
considered for the joint effect. Ultimately, these effect
models can be linked to the fate models, and serve as tools
for prospective risk assessment, to predict potential
impacts on species under various realistic exposure
scenarios. The focus in this project is with copepods (Calanus
finmarchicus) and fish eggs (Atlantic Cod, Gadus
morhua). For C. finmarchicus, we depart from
the model previously developed in the ENERGYBAR project, for
the fish eggs we start with the work on snail eggs (Barsi et al.,
et al., 2013).
The DiTail project brings together experts on DEB modelling
and molecular techniques, offering an excellent opportunity
to identify the mechanistic links between changes at the
molecular level and changes to the abstract energetic fluxes
in DEB models, and furthermore to changes in life-history
traits over time. Establishing this linkage is especially
interesting, as it may ultimately lead to accurate
predictions for effects on individuals from a suite of
simple biomarkers (see Jager &
Hansen, 2013; Jager,
& Jager, 2018).