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Offshore wind farms - ecological effects of noise and habitat alteration on fish
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are large gaps in our understanding how fish populations are affected by the anthropogenic noise and the alteration of habitat caused by the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. These issues are of great importance as the construction of offshore wind farms will increase all over the world in the near future. This thesis studies these effects with a focus on fish. The wind turbine foundations function as artificial reefs and are colonized by invertebrates, algae and fish. The epibenthic assemblages are influenced by factors such as hydrographical parameters, time of submergence, distance to natural hard bottom, material and texture (PAPER I, II). Once an epibenthic assemblage has been developed, fish utilize it for different ecosystem services such as food, shelter, and spawning and nursery area. Benthic and semi-pelagic species show a stronger response to the introduced foundation than pelagic species, as it is the bottom habitat that has mainly been altered (PAPER I, II). Pelagic species could be positively affected by the increased food availability - but it takes time and the effect is local.

Construction noise like pile driving creates high levels of sound pressure and acoustic particle motion in the water and seabed. This noise induces behavioural reactions in cod (Gadus morhua) and sole (Solea solea). These reactions could occur up to tens of kilometres distance from the source (PAPER III). During power production, the wind turbines generate a broadband noise with a few dominating tones (PAPER IV, V), which are detectable by sound pressure sensitive fish at a distance of several kilometres even though intense shipping occurs in the area. Motion sensitive species will only detect the turbine noise at around a ten meter distance. Sound levels are only high enough to possibly cause a behavioural reaction within meters from a turbine (PAPER IV, V).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2011. , 48 p.
Keyword [en]
renewable energy, fish population, artificial reef, attraction vs. production, habitat structure, reef effect, FAD, bioacoustics, noise disturbance, fish behaviour, detection range, threshold, masking, fish communication and hearing
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54049ISBN: 978-91-7447-172-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-54049DiVA: diva2:391860
Public defence
2011-02-25, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3, 4 and 5: Manuscripts.Available from: 2011-02-03 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Epibenthic colonization of concrete and steel pilingsin a cold-temperate embayment: a feld experiment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Epibenthic colonization of concrete and steel pilingsin a cold-temperate embayment: a feld experiment
2009 (English)In: Helgoland Marine Research, ISSN 1438-387X, E-ISSN 1438-3888, Vol. 63, no 3, 249-260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With large-scale development of offshore wind farms, vertical structures are becoming more common in open water areas. To examine how vertical structures of different materials may be colonized by epibenthic organisms, an experiment was carried out using steel and concrete pilings constructed to resemble those commonly used in wind farm constructions as well as in bridges, jetties and oil platforms. The early recruitment and succession of the epibenthic communities were sampled once a month for the first 5 months and then again after 1 year. Further, the fish assemblages associated with the pillars were sampled and compared to natural areas. The main epibenthic species groups, in terms of coverage, diVered between the two materials at five out of six sampling occasions. Dominant organisms on steel pillars were the barnacle Balanus improvisus,the calcareous tubeworm Pomatoceros triqueter and the tunicate Ciona intestinalis. On the concrete pillars, the hydroid Laomedea sp. and the tunicates Corella parallelogramma and Ascidiella spp. dominated. However, there was no different in coverage at different heights on the pillars or in biomass and species abundance at different directions (north-east or south-west) 5 months after submergence. Fish showed overall higher abundances and species numbers on the pillars (but no difference between steel and concrete)compared to the surrounding soft bottom habitats but not compared to natural vertical rock walls. Two species were attracted to the pillars, indicating a reef effect; Gobiusculus flavescens and Ctenolabrus rupestris. The bottom-dwelling gobies, Pomatoschistus spp., did not show such preferences.

Keyword
Artifcial reef, Disturbance, Habitat structure, Reef effect, Renwable energy, Tunicates
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30684 (URN)10.1007/s10152-009-0156-9 (DOI)000269013800008 ()
Projects
Downvind
Available from: 2009-10-22 Created: 2009-10-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Fish and sessile assemblages associated with wind-turbineconstructions in the Baltic Sea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fish and sessile assemblages associated with wind-turbineconstructions in the Baltic Sea
2010 (English)In: Marine and Freshwater Research, ISSN 1323-1650, E-ISSN 1448-6059, Vol. 61, no 6, 642-650 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Offshore wind farms are being built at a high rate around the world to meet the demand for renewable energy. We studied fish and sessile communities on and around offshore wind-turbine foundations in the southern Baltic Sea, 7 years after construction, using visual census techniques to determine how fish, sessile-invertebrate and algal communities are affected by the introduction of such structures. Fish assemblages were dominated by two-spotted gobies (Gobiusculus flavescens) that were found in large shoals in close association with the vertical surface. At the seabed, close to the foundation, the black goby (Gobius niger) was recorded in large numbers. The most obvious difference in fish densities was found between wind-power foundations extending through the entire water column and the surrounding open waters. Fouling assemblages on the vertical foundation surfaces and at the seabed just below differed from those at the seabed further away by having higher coverage of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and less algal growth. The results from the present study suggest that the introduction of offshore wind turbines in marine waters could have a positive effect on fish numbers and the presence of sessile invertebrates

Keyword
artificial reef, disturbance, habitat structure, reef effect, wind power
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40975 (URN)10.1071/MF09117 (DOI)000279106700002 ()
Projects
Downvind
Available from: 2010-06-29 Created: 2010-06-29 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Pile-driving sound affects the behaviour of marine fish
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pile-driving sound affects the behaviour of marine fish
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54038 (URN)
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-01-25Bibliographically approved
4. Particle motion measured at an operational wind turbine in relation to hearing sensitivity in fish
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Particle motion measured at an operational wind turbine in relation to hearing sensitivity in fish
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54028 (URN)
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-01-25Bibliographically approved
5. Wind farm noise influence on the audibility of fish
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wind farm noise influence on the audibility of fish
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54045 (URN)
Available from: 2011-01-25 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2011-01-30Bibliographically approved

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