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The Use Of Cotton Grass As Oil Sorbent In Marine Environmental Protection – Preliminary Results From Experiments


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J. Ikävalko, S. Suni, K. Koskinen, A. Aalto, J. Jäänheimo & M. Romantschuk


We have studied the use of cotton grass, a costless side product of peat excavation, as a sorbent of surface oil slicks in a brackish water environment. Two major experiments were run in 2005, where untreated water from the Gulf of Finland (including plankton organisms) was transported into eight large experiment tanks (400 liters each) and diesel oil, cotton grass, oil-degrading bacteria and nutrients, as well as blue (Mytilus spp.) and zebra (Dreissena sp.) mussels were added in different combinations. We studied the effect of diesel oil on phyto- and zooplankton, mussels, and the applicability of the use of cotton grass for eliminating the detrimental effects of oil on test organisms. The applicability of our results are within oil combating: the more we know about which, how, and in what concentrations key species in the Gulf of Finland ecosystem respond to oil, the better we can design and focus oil combating activities to the most ecologically vulnerable areas. In this paper we will introduce the experiment set-up, measured factors and the first results of our experiments. Keywords: Baltic Sea, oil, cotton grass, plankton, mussels. 1 Introduction Vast volumes of crude and heavy fuel oil are transported in the Baltic Sea, particularly across the Gulf of Finland every year, and activity is projected to


Baltic Sea, oil, cotton grass, plankton, mussels.