Observations of the Effects of Oil Field Structures on their biotic Environment: Platform Fouling Community
The fouling community, its planktonic larvae and its predators were studied at Buccanneer Field, Texas from May, 1976 to April, 1977. Sixteen algae and 101 invertebrate species were identified from the structures. The existing fouling community was dominated by the large barnacle Balanus tintinnabulum, which provided a matrix of crevices in which other invertebrates were found. Unoccupied space was rare in the natural community but persisted for several months in disturbed quadrats, especially in winter. The erect bryozoan Savignyella lafonti and the urchin Arbacia punctulata were seasonally common on the well jacket but absent or rare on the production platform. On the other hand, the erect bryozoans Bugula neritina and Bugula rylandi and the hydroid Tubularia crocea were seasonally common on the platform but rate on the well jacket. Predator exclusion cages on experimental quadrats seemed to encourage the development of Savignyella lafonti and tubes of the corophiid amphipod Erichthonius brasiliensis. Scraped quadrats were recolonized primarily by hydroids, green algae and sponges. Several fouling species were found on shells on the bottom directly beneath the structures which did not occur on the structures themselves. Growth rates of several mollusks (Pteria colymbus, Musculus lateralis, Anadara transversa, Aequipecten gibbus, and Ostrea equestris) were sufficiently rapid to permit adult size to be attained in less than one year.
Technical Report c.1 and c.2