Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Brown crabs affected by underwater power cables - study finds
Pictured: A brown crab.

The cables mesmerise the crabs and cause biological changes.

A study by Heriot-Watt University has discovered that underwater power cables for renewable energy sources mesmerise brown crabs and lead to biological changes which could affect migration habits.

Published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, the study found that the cables for offshore renewable energy, which emit an electromagnetic field, attracts brown crabs and causes them to stay still.

The decreased movement means that the crabs are spending less time looking for a mate and foraging for food, as well as leading to changes in their sugar metabolism – storing more sugar and producing less lactate. 

In a study of 60 brown crabs at the St Abbs marine station, higher levels of electromagnetism were found to cause cellular changes in the crabs, which affected their blood cells. 

Alastair Lyndon, associate professor at Heriot-Watt University's centre for marine biology and diversity, told The Guardian: “Underwater cables emit an electromagnetic field. When it’s at a strength of 500 microteslas and above, which is about 5% of the strength of a fridge door magnet, the crabs seem to be attracted to it and just sit still.

“That’s not a problem in itself. But if they’re not moving, they’re not foraging for food or seeking a mate. 

“The change in activity levels also leads to changes in sugar metabolism – they store more sugar and produce less lactate, just like humans.”

Kevin Scott, manager of the St Abbs facility, told The Guardian: “We found that exposure to higher levels of electromagnetic field strength changed the number of blood cells in the crabs’ bodies.

“This could have a range of consequences, like making them more susceptible to bacterial infection.”

Warning that this behaviour could have repercussions for the fishing industry, Lyndon told The Guardian: “Male brown crabs migrate up the east coast of Scotland. If miles of underwater cabling prove too difficult to resist, they’ll stay put.

“This could mean we have a buildup of male crabs in the south of Scotland, and a paucity of them in the north-east and islands, where they are incredibly important for fishermen’s livelihoods and local economies.”


Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

RCVS Fellowship applications open

News Story 1
 Applications have now opened for RCVS Fellowship 2022. The RCVS is encouraging anyone who would like to be considered for Fellowship to apply, and if successful, they will be welcomed into the Fellowship next year.

The process for joining the fellowship has changed slightly for this year, as applicants will now need two signed referee forms instead of three professional references, and five assessors will review each application instead of three.

The deadline for applications is 14 February 2022, and more information on how to apply can be found here. If applicants have any questions, or would like informal advice from previous successful applicants, they are encouraged to contact Ceri Via Email 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Horiba announces veterinary haematology webinar

Horiba Medical has announced a free webinar providing practical insight on best practice in veterinary haematology. Entitled 'In practice haematology - Beyond the pale!' the webinar will be presented by Ronnie Barron from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School.

Ronnie's presentation, which will conclude with a Q&A session, will look at QC and artefacts of sample quality and review the effects of different pathologies. Using images, photomicrographs and video links, he will also explain the techniques and equipment needed to complement analytical automation to confirm results quality.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, October 28 (7.30-9pm). For more details and to register, click here.