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DISCOBIOL, 2008-2011

Dispersants and response techniques in coastal environments: biological effects and contributions to regulations









ANR, Programme ECOT 2007 (France)

Marine nationale (France)

MEDDE (France)


Exxon (US)



Cedre, Brest

Anses (France)

Fisheries and Oceans Department (Canada)

Innospec Ltd (UK)

Total Fluides Spéciaux (France)

UBO (France)

Université de la Côte d’Opale (France)


The DISCOBIOL project aims to improve practical recommendations on dispersant use in coastal or estuarine areas by providing information on the impact of chemically and naturally dispersed oil on the common living organisms in these areas. This information will then be used to improve operational guidelines on dispersion but also to develop a solid base of technical information on the toxicity of dispersed oil.

The project focuses on experimentally comparing the toxicity or impact on different marine organisms of the coastal or estuarine ecosystem generated by exposure to the same oil dispersed naturally (by mechanical agitation by the sea) or chemically (by spraying dispersant).

This study mainly targets small and medium scale spills. Consequently, the exposure durations applied are relatively short (24 to 48 hours). The toxicity/impact is assessed immediately following exposure, or after a specified time period ranging from two weeks to a few months.



More information

Dispersant use in estuarine areas - the Discobiol project, François-Xavier Merlin, Cedre.
Cedre Information Day, 17th March 2011


Project description (in French)
ANR (French National Research Agency) website


MERLIN F.-X., LE FLOCH S. 2012. Discobiol : Evaluation de l'impact des produits dispersants utilisés pour lutter contre les pollutions pétrolières maritimes en zones côtières ou estuariennes.
Bulletin d'information du Cedre, n° 29, pp. 13-15


LE FLOCH S. 2009. Projet Discobiol : dispersants et techniques de lutte en milieux côtiers - effets biologiques et apports à la réglementation.
Bulletin d'information du Cedre, n° 25, pp. 17-18


AMOP paper


IOSC publication