APEM is able to offer the full suite of sample collection and analysis on a global scale, helping ship owners and ports to meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation’s Ballast Water Management Convention.

Marine non-native species

Ballast waters and biofouling are considered two of the main pathways by which marine non-native species are introduced to new environments.

When introduced to a new environment these species may establish, causing adverse effects on the receiving ecosystem, native species, human infrastructure and potentially having legal implications.

APEM has developed services to help our clients manage the risks posed by non-native species and comply with relevant legislation regarding the accidental introduction of marine species through ballast water or biofouling.

Ballast Water Management Convention

The introduction of non-native species to new environments via discharged ballast water is considered to pose significant ecological and economic risk.

To manage this risk the International Maritime Organisation has developed guidelines for the control and management of ballast water. This is in the form of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), which specifies the permissible level of organisms that can be discharged by vessels via its ballast water.

APEM can provide all the expertise, equipment and logistical solutions required to conduct sample collection and laboratory analysis to ensure vessels are compliant with this legislation.

APEM and our partners provide an international network of laboratories, field teams and scientists to provide the sampling and analysis of ballast water on a worldwide scale.  We can also provide advice on managing ballast water and controlling the risks of invasive species.

We carry out high quality analysis of marine and freshwater ballast water for microbial composition, phytoplankton and zooplankton communities, including the identification of non-native species.

We provide reporting on the analysis to the BWMC’s Regulation D-2 standards, based on specified numbers or organisms recorded per unit volume. Viability results are returned as standard

  • Microscope close-up of copepoda
  • Microscope close-up of copepoda

Data analysis and implication assessments

APEM’s marine taxonomists have the knowledge, expertise and experience required to detect recently arrived non-native species. Many non-native species are thought to have been introduced via release of ballast waters and several staff have particular specialism in non-native and invasive species, having published papers on invasive species and new UK invasions.

APEM’s team of taxonomists are recognised as experts in their fields and analyse thousands of samples each year from locations around the world, providing robust scientific data.

Strict health and safety procedures ensure the safety of both staff and the public.

Biofouling assessments

close up of mussels

The build-up of organisms on submerged structures not only adds significant weight and drag to the structures but can aid the spread of non-native species.

Whilst fouling of ships’ hulls may spread organisms across oceans stationary structures such as wind turbines, oil rigs, buoys, piers and jetties may facilitate localised spread of invasive species within a region since they provide a ‘stepping-stone’ for organisms where otherwise no suitable substrates would occur and distances could otherwise prevent spread.

APEM has significant experience in assessing fouling communities with the purpose of detecting non-native species and assessing the threat they pose of introducing non-native species.

Mussels and barnacles

We plan and execute surveys tailored to fouling communities and the species likely to pose the greatest threats. Rapid assessment surveys are used to detect those species easily identified in the field whilst laboratory analysis of samples from surface scrapes or settlement panels at APEM’s laboratories enables detection of smaller organisms that may not be evident on site.

We interpret this information in the context of local and international guidelines as well as knowledge of the recipient environment to determine the risk posed by the vessel/structure and can advise on suitable management options or preventative measures.

If you have any queries, please contact David Hall, head of marine and freshwater laboratories.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.