My post-doctoral project titled “Sea Stories: Constructing Nature in the Rigs-to-Reefs Debate” was an examination of the modern history of the Rigs-to-Reefs program in which decommissioned oil and gas offshore platform jackets are converted into artificial reefs. In this project, I examined the scientific and political controversies surrounding Rigs-to-Reefs since the mid-1970s in the Gulf of Mexico, California Bight and North Sea. By analyzing the historical development of artificial coral reef research in conjunction with political and business discussions about offshore disposal of oil structures, the project hopes to shed light on why policies have developed differently in the three areas. I am particularly interested in how a combination of science, politics, economics, and culture work together to define what is “natural.”
In Oil Culture, ed. D. Worden and R. Barrett, 267-288. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
To examine the integration of oil and ocean, this essay analyzes depictions of offshore ecosystems in American aquarium displays owned by a variety of organizations, ranging from commercial restaurant chains to nonprofit environmentally focused … Continue reading
In Iconic designs: 50 stories about 50 things, ed. G. Lees-Maffei. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
While not exactly an artificial reef, the history of the Palm Islands in Dubai bring up many of the same issues about naturalness versus artificiality that are common themes of rigs-to-reefs discussions.
In lieu of an … Continue reading
Marine Ecology Progress Series 516 (2014): 275-280.
Authors: Paulina Bergmark and Dolly Jørgensen
ABSTRACT: Deep-water coral reefs are classified as vulnerable marine ecosystems, with trawling identified as the primary cause of reef destruction. Lophelia pertusa is the main reef-building species in deep-water coral reefs. In addition to occurring on natural hard … Continue reading
I had the privilege to give a lecture on November 4, 2014, as part of the 2014 Sagan National Colloquium Water in World at Ohio Wesleyan University (USA). The video of the lecture titled “Oasis in a Watery Desert” is available online.
In New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies, ed. Dolly Jørgensen, Finn Arne Jørgensen & Sara Pritchard (Pittsburgh: Univ of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), 51-68.
Classic environmental histories of the environmentalist movement tell stories of pro-environmentalists fighting against anti-environmentalist interests who typically opt for economic gain over environmental preservation. … Continue reading
Journal of American Studies 46 (2012): 461–480.
This article analyzes aquarium displays depicting the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico to see the ways in which offshore oil structures have been naturalized. It focuses on aquariums in Texas and Louisiana that use oil structures as part of their public displays of … Continue reading
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10 (2012): 178–179.
This peer-reviewed letter makes a case for integrating policy history into scientific recommendations for rigs-to-reefs programs by examining the failed attempt to make the Odin platform into Norway’s first rig-to-reef project.
Available online (open access)
Ocean and Coastal Management 58 (2012): 57-61.
This article focuses on how the debate over the deepwater disposal of offshore oil and gas installations has been central to shaping North Sea artificial reef policy. Through a close empirical historical study, this article reconstructs how Greenpeace’s protest of the deepwater disposal of … Continue reading
History and Technology 25 (December 2009): 343-364.
This article explores how in the years after 1980 a spectrum of historical actors came to see petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico as a necessary part of the Gulf ecosystem and how such views affected platform removal policies. Through a discourse analysis … Continue reading
Solutions Journal 4 (Sept 2013)
This article argues that environmental discourses develop on an international stage at a particular moment in time and can create associations between issues that are not directly related. When Greenpeace, by occupying the Brent Spar, turned all eyes on the issue of dumping oil installations at … Continue reading