Postprint version. Published in Biofouling, Volume 16, Issue 2, January 1, 2000, pages 311-322.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Dean Wendt was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Nontoxic, low surface free energy silicone coatings having reduced biofouling adhesion strength have been developed as an alternative to antifouling paints. Silicone coatings permit macrofouling to adhere; however, fouling can be removed easily by water pressure or light scrubbing. One of the current methods used to evaluate the performance of non-toxic silicone fouling-release coatings relies heavily on fouling coverage. The organismal community structure as well as total coverage can affect the ease of fouling removal from these coatings. This paper explores fouling coverage and organismal adhesion over time. Long-term fouling coverage data were collected at four sites (in Massachusetts, Hawaii and Florida) using static immersion panels coated with silicone and oil-amended silicone systems. Inter-site differences in fouling coverage and community structure were observed for each coating. Intra-site variation and temporal change in coverage of fouling was minimal, regardless of coating formulation. The extent of coverage was affected by the duration of immersion and the local environmental conditions; these factors may also have an impact on the foul-release capability of the silicone coatings. Organismal adhesion data was collected in Hawaii and Florida. These adhesion measurements were used as a tool to discriminate and rank fouling release coatings.