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Effects of scrubber washwater discharge on microplankton in the Baltic Sea

Journal article
Authors E. Ytreberg
I. M. Hassenov
A. T. Nylund
Mikael Hedblom
Adil Y Al-Handal
Angela Wulff
Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume 145
Pages 316-324
ISSN 0025-326X
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 316-324
Language en
Keywords emissions, speciation, blooms, copper, cu, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Marine & Freshwater Biology
Subject categories Marine ecology


In 2020, the global cap of maximum allowable sulphur content in marine fuel will be reduced from the current 3.5% to 0.5%. Another way to reduce the sulphur emissions is to install a seawater scrubber that cleans exhausts but instead release acidic water containing nutrients and contaminants back to the marine environment. In the current study, scrubber washwater was tested on a Baltic Sea microplankton community. A significant increase in chlorophyll a, particulate organic phosphorus (POP), carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON) were observed when the community was exposed to 10% scrubber washwater for 13 days as compared to the control. A laboratory experiment with the filamentous cyanobacteria Nodularia spumigena and the chain-forming diatom Melosira cf. arctica showed negative responses in photosynthetic activity (EC10 = 8.6% for N. spumigena) and increased primary productivity (EC10 = 5.5% for M. cf. arctica), implying species-specific responses to scrubber washwater discharge.

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