Reducing the Impact of Oil Spills (RIOS) project

The RIOS project’s primary goal was to develop an action plan for future research on oiled wildlife response and preparedness, and to stimulate contacts and future co-operation between scientists, wildlife responders, oil industry and governmental organisations.

The project’s experts began the process by creating the RIOS Background Document which identified  present state-of-the-art knowledge in the field of oiled wildlife response and defined initial research priorities to further that knowledge. At a workshop in Albufeira, Portugal in April 2008, scientists came together to discuss the background document and research concerning oil spills and their effects on wildlife.

The workshop also offered the unique opportunity for individuals and organisations actively involved in oiled wildlife response and rehabilitation to help identify further research priorities. Researchers were able to discuss options for collaboration on projects and avoid duplication of work.

The priorities identified in this process formed the basis for a European Action Plan proposing further steps for oiled wildlife research. The plan was submitted to the European Commission and may be used in the development of European research policy. The RIOS website provides further information.


  • Nordeconsult
  • ZooMarine
  • Sea Alarm Foundation


  • April 2007 – October 2008

Specific objectives:

  • Bring together experts in the areas of European wildlife population biology and oiled wildlife response to determine what is known and what further work needs to be done to improve response to oil spill threats.
  • Create a background document describing needed research and development for reducing the impacts of oil on wildlife, including literature reviews in the areas of oil vulnerability indices (OVI), seabird distribution in European waters, state of oiled wildlife rehabilitation and post-release survival data.
  • Create an action plan identifying next steps needed in research and development in the field of oiled wildlife response.


  • RIOS Project Background Document, a compilation of knowledge to date on many aspects of oiled wildlife response.
  • RIOS Action Plan submitted to the European Commission to provide guidance on future research priorities for improving response to wildlife threatened by oil spills.