Gribbles – Solutions

Gribbles – Solutions

Music; Ambience: tugboat, harbor

According to an old saying, no good deed goes unpunished. Apparently this holds true for cleaning up water pollution, too. By the 1940’s, pollution in our harbors had driven the tiny wood boring crustacean know as the gribble away from our ships and docks. But now that we’ve begun to clean the water in our harbors up, the gribble has returned. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. One of the biggest concerns about gribbles is that they’ll eat away at the pilings below our piers. Dr. Paul Boyle is deputy director of the New York Aquarium.

“The harbors were polluted enough that wood borers didn’t do very well in those waters. Now with the cleaning up of our coastal areas and our harbors, the waters are getting cleaner. The wood does not have the protection that it needs against wood borers, and so those pilings are now building up populations of wood borers and we’re finding that they’re causing problems in a lot of harbors around the country.”

“Certainly we want cleaner water, and there are ways to go back in and protect pilings. There are certain kinds of plastic wrap – divers can go in and wrap pilings, and that protects them from wood borers.”

“It will actually then become anaerobic or oxygen free within that wrap and so the borers don’t tend to do well even if they’re inside. It’s a good physical protection for pilings.”

And although the plastic wrap is an environmentally safe option, it’s not as effective as Boyle and his colleagues would like.

“So what we’re doing is looking for some other ways to either repel wood borers from the wood, or prevent them from boring in the wood successfully – – and what we’re really looking for are nontoxic ways to do that. We’re trying to find ways to prevent them from damaging the wood without creating a toxic condition in the water.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Gribbles - Solutions

Wood borers are a challenge to researchers exploring environmentally safe ways to protect submerged wooden structures.
Air Date:04/25/2002
Scientist:
Transcript:

Gribbles - Solutions

Music; Ambience: tugboat, harbor

According to an old saying, no good deed goes unpunished. Apparently this holds true for cleaning up water pollution, too. By the 1940's, pollution in our harbors had driven the tiny wood boring crustacean know as the gribble away from our ships and docks. But now that we've begun to clean the water in our harbors up, the gribble has returned. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. One of the biggest concerns about gribbles is that they'll eat away at the pilings below our piers. Dr. Paul Boyle is deputy director of the New York Aquarium.

"The harbors were polluted enough that wood borers didn't do very well in those waters. Now with the cleaning up of our coastal areas and our harbors, the waters are getting cleaner. The wood does not have the protection that it needs against wood borers, and so those pilings are now building up populations of wood borers and we're finding that they're causing problems in a lot of harbors around the country."

"Certainly we want cleaner water, and there are ways to go back in and protect pilings. There are certain kinds of plastic wrap - divers can go in and wrap pilings, and that protects them from wood borers."

"It will actually then become anaerobic or oxygen free within that wrap and so the borers don't tend to do well even if they're inside. It's a good physical protection for pilings."

And although the plastic wrap is an environmentally safe option, it's not as effective as Boyle and his colleagues would like.

"So what we're doing is looking for some other ways to either repel wood borers from the wood, or prevent them from boring in the wood successfully - - and what we're really looking for are nontoxic ways to do that. We're trying to find ways to prevent them from damaging the wood without creating a toxic condition in the water."

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.