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The influence of offshore wind power on demersal fish
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2006 (English)In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, ISSN 1054-3139, Vol. 63, no 5, 775-784 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A significant expansion of offshore windpower is expected in northwestern Europe in the near future. Little is known about the impacts it may have on the marine environment. Here, we investigate the potential for wind turbines to function as artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices (FADs), i.e. whether they would locally increase fish densities or alter fish assemblages. Fish communities and habitat composition were investigated using visual transects at two windpower farms off the southeastern coast of Sweden, central Baltic Sea. Fish abundance was greater in the vicinity of the turbines than in surrounding areas, while species richness and Shannon–Wiener diversity (H') were similar. On the monopiles of the turbines, fish community structure was different, and total fish abundance was greater, while species richness and diversity (H') were lower than on the surrounding seabed. Blue mussels and barnacles covered most of the submerged parts of the turbines. On the seabed, more blue mussels and a lesser cover of red algae were recorded around the power plants than elsewhere. Results from this study suggest that offshore windfarms may function as combined artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices for small demersal fish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 63, no 5, 775-784 p.
Keyword [en]
artificial reefs, biodiversity, fishery, Gobidae, human disturbance, marine protected area, wind power
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30886DOI: 10.1016/j.icesjms.2006.02.001OAI: diva2:274680
Available from: 2009-10-30 Created: 2009-10-30 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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