Queen's University

Section of reef could be entirely destroyed

2010-04-13

Queen’s Biology Professor Peter Hodson is available to discuss the Chinese coal-carrying ship that ran aground on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and may leak hundreds of tons of oil onto the world’s largest reef system.

“While the accident will not affect the Great Barrier Reef as a whole, this specific reef could be entirely destroyed by the impact of grounding, the anchoring and prop wash from numerous rescue boats and recovery tugs, and smothering from any coal that is lost,” says Professor Hodson. “The reef will also be poisoned by spilled heavy fuel oil that contains polycyclic hydrocarbons highly toxic to marine species. Dispersing it in shallow waters over the reef has created a high risk of killing reef organisms.”

Professor Hodson’s research interests include ecological risk assessments of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) from oil, coal tar, creosote, soot and the by-products of microbial degradation of resin acids from pulp mill effluents. He has conducted research on heavy fuel oil (the type spilled) and on dispersants.

To arrange an interview, contact Kristyn Wallace at (613)533-6000 ext 79173 kristyn.wallace@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at (613)533-6000 ext 77513 michael.onesi@queensu.ca, News and Media Services, Queen’s University.

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