Sea Stars Clean Platforms

The extent to which life accumulated on the structure was not factored into the earliest platform engineering. Platforms Hazel, Heidi, Hilda and Hope had to be periodically cleared of biomass by divers using water jets. John Herring, Area Foreman for Standard Oil of California came up with a revolutionary idea:

Why not assist fallen sea stars in reaching the mussels to naturally reduce their weight and wave resistance on Platform Hilda?

A blanket of sub-tidal stinging anemone blocked the sea stars way from the sea floor to the mussel community thriving in the tidal zone. We cleared a path through the anemone, giving sea stars an advantage in reaching their preferred feeding grounds.

Along with Noel Davis, PhD, George S. Lewbel, Ph.D. and Arthur Wolfson, Pn.D.., we documented and co-administered this first experiment in natural biofouling on the offshore oil platforms.