Meeting Abstract

S10-1.5  Saturday, Jan. 7  Barnacles and biofouling - a brief history and summary of current research approaches and results HOLM, E.R.; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division

Biofouling, the accretion of organisms on submerged surfaces, has been the bane of ship operators for at least 2500 years. Accumulation of biofouling increases the frictional resistance of ship hulls and propellers, resulting in increased fuel consumption and decreased speed. Although the great diversity of biofouling organisms is well recognized, barnacles have, for better or worse, come to serve as both the phenomenon’s popular symbol and its indispensable research tool. Initial studies on barnacles and biofouling focused on documenting the extent of the problem, but later progressed to addressing aspects of larval attachment, metamorphosis and subsequent adhesion. With the development of relatively simple, portable, culture protocols, as well as clever assays, biofouling research with barnacles now often focuses not on biological aspects of the organism, but instead on the development of materials to maintain clean, smooth, hulls and propellers. These include evaluations of novel strategies for reducing the initial attachment of biofouling or its adhesion. I review the recent use of barnacles in the development of new antifouling and fouling-release hull coating materials. The process can be turned on its head – these new materials can be used as probes to further our understanding of, for example, the control of barnacle larval settlement or adhesion of adults.