Research, Criminology

Bodies at Sea – Ocean Oxygen Levels May Impact Scavenger Response

October 23, 2014

An ocean's oxygen levels may play a role in the impact of marine predators on bodies when they are immersed in the sea, according to Simon Fraser University researchers in a new study published this week in the journal PLoS One.

SFU criminologist Gail Anderson led the study, based on the deployment of a trio of pig carcasses into Saanich Inlet at a depth of 100 metres and studied over the past three years. Anderson assessed scavenger activity while co-author and SFU criminologist Lynne Bell continues her investigation of what happens to submerged bones.

The work is being conducted with the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS), a cabled underwater laboratory allowing researchers to monitor their experiments and equipment via the internet. Numerous sensors recorded oxygen levels, temperature, pressure, salinity, density and other factors every minute. Anderson was able to control the camera from anywhere, including while at a conference in Mexico.