Dr Andrew Poole

Dr Andrew Poole.

Blue mussels lead to barnacle free boats

New methods to reduce the growth of plants and animals on surfaces immersed in water, such as ship hulls, are being developed by a team of scientists from CSIRO. (4:24)

  • 11 December 2009

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If you’ve ever been down by the harbour and observed a ship in dry dock, you’ll have no doubt noticed its barnacle encrusted hull.

This infestation is known as 'biofouling' and on ships it causes drag, increased fuel and maintenance costs.

Biofouling not only affects ships: modern infrastructure such as underwater pipes and cables, oil platforms, and seismic survey equipment are also prone to it.

It’s also an effective way for marine pests to invade our region and cause havoc on our marine ecosystems.

Marine biofouling is generally managed with toxic paints or polymers, but this can also lead to undesirable effects on non-target organisms.

To address this, new, environmentally friendly solutions are now being developed by CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

In this podcast, CSIRO’s Dr Andrew Poole explains how - by emulating various anti-fouling processes found in nature - scientists are developing ways to protect modern underwater surfaces.

Read more about Wealth from Oceans Flagship.