Battling Biofouling: Its Characteristics Consequences and Control

15 July, 2011


Battling Biofouling: Its Characteristics, Consequences and Control


15 July 2011 Melbourne Branch Lunch and Learn Meeting

Chairman Chris Lee, SUT Melbourne Branch







Battling biofouling: its characteristics, consequences and control

John A Lewis, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMarSci, MIMarEST – Principal Marine Consultant, ES Link Services Pty Ltd

After completing honours and MSc degrees in marine botany at the University of Melbourne, John went on to spend 30 years working as a scientist in the Defence Science & Technology Organisation in Melbourne. His principal research interests there were in marine biofouling and its prevention and, prior to his departure in mid-2007, he led a team investigating new, environmentally acceptable methods of biofouling control, biofouling and marine invasive species management, environmental compliance of naval vessels, and other environmental aspects of navy operations. John now works as a private consultant with ES Link Services, primarily on biofouling impacts, antifouling technologies, invasive marine species management, and ship emissions.

Any surface immersed or exposed in the sea becomes the potential attachment site for marine organisms, from bacteria and microscopic algae, to mussels, corals and kelps. When this growth has some negative or detrimental impact, it is collectively termed ‘biofouling’, and biofouling has troubled the human species since we first ventured out from shore. Biofouling prevention and management has been, and still is, based on antifouling coatings that release toxic substances from their surfaces; these techniques are under increasing environmental scrutiny and new solutions therefore continue to be actively sought. This presentation provided an overview of the biofouling process and its effects, and of the development and application of antifouling technologies, with a focus on the marine offshore industry sector.