The Effects of Anthropogenic Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on the Early Development of Two Commercially Important Crustaceans, European Lobster, Homarus gammarus (L.) and Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus (L.)

Petra Harsanyi*, Kevin Scott, Blair A. A. Easton, Guadalupe de la Cruz Ortiz, Erica C. N. Chapman, Althea J. R. Piper, Corentine M. V. Rochas, Alastair R. Lyndon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Proposed offshore windfarm sites could overlap with the brooding and spawning habitats of commercially important crustacea, including European lobster, Homarus gammarus and Edible crab, Cancer pagurus. Concerns have been raised on the biological effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) emitted from subsea power cables on the early life history of these species. In this study, ovigerous female H. gammarus and C. pagurus were exposed to static (Direct Current, DC) EMFs (2.8 mT) throughout embryonic development. Embryonic and larval parameters, deformities, and vertical swimming speed of freshly hatched stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae were assessed. EMF did not alter embryonic development time, larval release time, or vertical swimming speed for either species. Chronic exposure to 2.8 mT EMF throughout embryonic development resulted in significant differences in stage-specific egg volume and resulted in stage I lobster and zoea I crab larvae exhibiting decreased carapace height, total length, and maximum eye diameter. An increased occurrence of larval deformities was observed in addition to reduced swimming test success rate amongst lobster larvae. These traits may ultimately affect larval mortality, recruitment and dispersal. This study increases our understanding on the effects of anthropogenic, static EMFs on crustacean developmental biology and suggests that EMF emissions from subsea power cables could have a measurable impact on the early life history and consequently the population dynamics of H. gammarus and C. pagurus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number564
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Volume10
Issue number5
Early online date21 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • Cancer pagurus
  • Edible crab
  • electromagnetic field
  • embryonic devel-opment
  • environmental stressor
  • European lobster
  • Homarus gammarus
  • larvae
  • marine renewable energy
  • subsea power cables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering

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