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Artificial reef effect and fouling impacts on offshore wave power foundations and buoys- a pilot study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2009 (English)In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, ISSN 0272-7714, Vol. 82, no 3, 426-432 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Little is known about the effects of offshore energy installations on the marine environment, and further research could assist in minimizing environmental risks as well as in enhancing potential positive effects on the marine environment. While biofouling on marine energy conversion devices on one hand has the potential to be an engineering concern, these structures can also affect biodiversity by functioning as artificial reefs. The Lysekil Project is a test park for wave power located at the Swedish west coast. Here, buoys acting as point absorbers on the surface are connected to generators anchored on concrete foundations on the seabed. In this study we investigated the colonisation of foundations by invertebrates and fish, as well as fouling assemblages on buoys. We examined the influence of surface orientation of the wave power foundations on epibenthic colonisation, and made observations of habitat use by fish and crustaceans during three years of submergence. We also examined fouling assemblages on buoys and calculated the effects of biofouling on the energy absorption of the wave power buoys. On foundations we demonstrated a succession in colonisation over time with a higher degree of coverage on vertical surfaces. Buoys were dominated by the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Calculations indicated that biofouling have no significant effect in the energy absorption on a buoy working as a point absorber. This study is the first structured investigation on marine organisms associated with wave power devices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 82, no 3, 426-432 p.
Keyword [en]
biodiversity; benthos; fish; shellfish; renewable energy; wave power; Sweden
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26745DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2009.02.009ISI: 000265573400007OAI: diva2:211210
Available from: 2009-04-09 Created: 2009-04-09 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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