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Fouling assemblages on offshore wind power plants and adjacent substrata
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2008 (English)In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, ISSN 0272-7714, Vol. 79, no 3, 459-466 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A significant expansion of offshore wind power is expected in the near future, with thousands of turbines in coastal waters, and various aspects of how this may influence the coastal ecology including disturbance effects from noise, shadows, electromagnetic fields, and changed hydrological conditions are accordingly of concern. Further, wind power plants constitute habitats for a number of organisms, and may locally alter assemblage composition and biomass of invertebrates, algae and fish. In this study, fouling assemblages on offshore wind turbines were compared to adjacent hard substrate. Influences of the structures on the seabed were also investigated. The turbines differed significantly from adjacent boulders in terms of assemblage composition of epibiota and motile invertebrates. Species number and Shannon-Wiener diversity were, also, significantly lower on the wind power plants. It was also indicated that the turbines might have affected assemblages of invertebrates and algae on adjacent boulders. Off shore wind power plant offer atypical substrates for fouling assemblages in terms of orientation, depth range, structure, and surface texture. Some potential ecological implications of the addition of these non-natural habitats for coastal ecology are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 79, no 3, 459-466 p.
Keyword [en]
artificial reefs, Baltic Sea, coastal zone management, disturbance, fouling organisms, wind power
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-15697DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2008.04.020ISI: 000259731900012OAI: diva2:182217
Available from: 2008-12-08 Created: 2008-12-08 Last updated: 2009-11-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aspects of offshore renewable energy and the alterations of marine habitats
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspects of offshore renewable energy and the alterations of marine habitats
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Several Western European countries are planning for a massive offshore renewable energy (i.e. wind and wave energy) development (ORED) along the European Atlantic coast and in the Baltic Sea. Acknowledging the scale of ORED, there is an increasing interest in the opportunities offered by the fishery closures and the addition of artificial hard substrata. This is in tandem with uncertainties on positive and negative effects on benthic assemblages and specific species of this large-scale deployment of artificial reefs.

This thesis focuses on the artificial reef effects of ORED, dealing with benthic assemblages on and in the vicinity of wind- and wave power foundations. Field surveys within offshore wind- and wave farms as well as targeted field experiments were conducted. Results suggest that wind- and wave power foundations can positively affect local abundances and diversity of several species of fish and decapods. Reef profile up to 1 m above the seabed may enhance benthic fish numbers. Structural complexity in the form of single-entrance holes positively affected numbers of edible crab (Cancer pagurus), but no effect on fish was shown. Enhanced structural complexity may, moreover, adversely affect abundances of some species through an induced predation pressure. Micro-habitat use by fish and lobsters (Homarus gammarus) encountered was described, and preferences of the edible crab were shown.

Filtrating organisms (i.e. blue mussels Mytilus spp. and barnacles Balanus spp.) seem to be particularly favoured by the conditions on offshore energy installations. The material and orientation of the substrate influenced colonisation patterns of epibiota. Moreover, wind turbines may alter the habitat composition on adjacent seabeds.

ORED could induce local ecological changes and put areas and species of conservation interest at risk. If well planned and co-ordinated, on the other hand, ORED could even be beneficial to the subsurface marine environment in several aspects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2009. 56 p.
renewable energy, biodiversity, wave power, wind power, disturbance, fish, fouling organisms, artificial reefs
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31157 (URN)978-91-7155-970-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-12-11, hörsal 11, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-11-19 Created: 2009-11-06 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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