|Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Livingstone, Suzanne |
C24.1 17:30 Bad vibes from too much noise: Unchecked and unforeseen impacts of seismic testing on U.S. fisheries. Young, SM *, Oceana; Keledjian, AJ Oceana; |
Abstract: The oil and gas industry in the U.S. has recently ramped up plans for seismic testing in the Atlantic, the impacts of which have not been accurately assessed by the federal government using the best available science and are cause for serious concern within the conservation community. The proposed blast area spans much of the U.S. Atlantic coast and is inhabited by countless diverse and vulnerable species, including six species of endangered cetaceans, two endangered sea turtles, three endangered sea birds, and over 600 fish species, many of which are commercially important to Atlantic fisheries. The effects of seismic testing on marine mammals are getting attention, but seismic testing also presents a threat to fish and the commercial fishermen whose livelihoods depend on the availability and predictability of fish biomass and habitat. We use spatial analysis to demonstrate the overlap of the preferred seismic area with essential fish habitat for several commercially valuable species. By overlaying areas of the highest potential seismic survey impacts with those ports where the most fish are landed, we highlight the risk of prematurely authorizing these unmitigated and unchecked impacts. This study exemplifies the importance of adopting the precautionary approach when federal governments allow potentially harmful anthropogenic activities whose impacts on the marine environment and local livelihoods are poorly understood.
C24.2 17:45 Marine biodiversity offsets â€“ lessons learned from the terrestrial realm. Livingstone, S R *, The Biodiversity Consultancy; Ekstrom, J E The Biodiversity Consultancy; Pollard, E The Biodiversity Consultancy; Pilgrim, J D The Biodiversity Consultancy; |
Abstract: Impacts on marine ecosystems are increasing rapidly, particularly due to coastal development, and over-exploration of marine resources. New issues are emerging including expanding oil and gas exploration, seabed mining, renewable energy and shipping. Sustainable development of marine ecosystems is likely to include biodiversity offsets, which are increasingly being required by governments and banks. This paper provides an overview of challenges to, and opportunities for, marine offsets, using lessons learned from terrestrial offset development. Marine biodiversity offsets are often perceived to be difficult or complex, with the opinion that they may need to be different to terrestrial offsets. However, while likely more complex, the same principles of design and implementation developed for terrestrial can be applied to marine. There are opportunities for additionality in marine offsets, owing to existing threats and insufficient funding for marine conservation. Marine ecosystems are generally more interconnected than those on land, which presents challenges of locating and measuring both industry and offset gains. A key feature of offsets, are that losses and gains need to be quantifiable. This poses a challenge for marine offsets where measuring biodiversity in marine environments is often extremely problematic. In light of this, a pragmatic approach to developing alternative methodologies for assessing baselines and long-term monitoring for marine offsets is needed.
C24.3 18:00 Marine mammals and tidal turbines: understanding true collision risk. Sparling, Carol E. *, SMRU Marine, New Technology Centre, North Haugh, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. KY16 9SR; Booth, Cormac G. SMRU Marine, New Technology Centre, North Haugh, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. KY16 9SR; Hastie, Gordon .D. Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. KY16 8LB ; Gillespie, Doug Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. KY16 8LB ; |
Abstract: One of the key perceived environmental risks associated with tidal energy is the potential for wildlife species to be injured by moving parts of tidal turbines. Predictions are informed by modelling the encounter rate between marine mammals and turbines based on the physical characteristics of turbines, estimates of local density of animals (or passage rate) and their physical and behavioural characteristics. There is currently no empirical evidence to inform how behavioural responses should be taken into account in these models. Understanding how animals may be able to avoid collisions is crucial in determining true risk. SMRU Marine and the Sea Mammal Research Unit are driving the development of innovative monitoring techniques on several tidal energy projects to collect data on near field behavioural responses and to determine true encounter rates. One of these projects is at Marine Current Turbinesâ€™ SeaGen tidal turbine in Strangford Lough, NI. MCT have secured a licence to operate the turbine without the precautionary marine mammal shutdown mitigation that was originally implemented to protect the Strangford Lough harbour seal population (a qualifying feature of the Strangford Lough SAC designation). We will report on the latest data collected during this trial (and other deployments around the UK) and provide an update on evidence for evasion or avoidance capabilities of marine mammals; currently a key barrier to unlocking the future potential of marine energy.
C24.4 18:15 Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm, 13 years of ecological monitoring: Results, lessons learned and implications for ecosystems and future developments. Jane Lancaster *, Natural Power Consultants Ltd; Ross McGregor Natural Power Consultants Ltd; Gillian Lye Natural Power Consultants Ltd; Chris Pendlebury Natural Power Consultants Ltd; |
Abstract: E.Onâ€™s Robin Rigg is Scotlandâ€™s first commercially operational offshore wind farm and was completed in 2010. Natural Power have conducted ecological surveys from baseline to operation for benthos, fish, birds and marine mammals and analysed the data to provide a robust assessment of the impacts of the site on marine life. Primer analysis of benthic and fish communities revealed that although significant differences were found between construction periods (baseline, construction and operation) these could not be attributed to the wind farm, but to natural variability in marine communities. Detailed modelling of bird data revealed that some species had apparently declined in abundance within the wind farm, others had clearly increased, while others had exhibited no measurable change. Of those that had declined this could not be directly attributed to the wind farm as more complex spatial patterns were involved, with declines often seen outside the wind farm. Harbour porpoise, the only marine mammal recorded at the site, declined during construction with piling seemingly having a measurable effect. Numbers increased during the operational numbers to pre construction levels, therefore effect on harbour porpoise populations have been short-term, temporary and reversible. These studies have demonstrated the limited impact of the wind farm on the marine ecology of the Solway Firth as well as the effectiveness and limitations of the monitoring techniques.
C24.5 18:30 Impact hypothesis for offshore wind farms: explanatory models for species distribution at extremely exposed rocky reefs. SchlĂ¤ppy, Marie-Lise *, Ecole Polytechnique FĂ©dĂ©rale Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne; Ĺ aĹˇkov, Aleksej KU CORPI, Coastal Research and Planning Institute, Klaipeda University; Dahlgren, Thomas G. Uni Research, ThormĂ¸hlensgt. 55, 5008 Bergen; |
Abstract: The increasing need for renewable and clean energy is likely to result in a diversification of locations of offshore wind farms. On the Western coast of Norway underwater video analyses and multibeam bathymetry data with a generalized linear model were used to investigate the influence of geomorphic explanatory variables on the occurrence of selected taxa at a planned wind farm on rocky substratum. The geomorphic descriptors aspect, slope, rugosity, and benthic position indexes (BPI), were of significance for algae, sea urchins and sea stars and showed their habitat preferences before impact. Kelp occurred in areas of high rugosity, on gentle slopes, in elevated areas with a southerly orientation and on the sheltered side of rock or bedrock. Thus, construction disturbance that modify those variables may lead to a change in kelp distribution. Turbines that shade southerly aspects may affect kelp plants in reducing their available habitat. Sea urchins were more abundant on steep slopes and both sea stars and sea urchins showed a preference for a complex local relief and heterogeneity in fine and broad elevation. Thus, foundations and cable route preparation may significantly change the distribution of sea urchin populations. It may likewise significantly change the rugosity or BPI which may change the distribution of sea stars. The model used yields useful information about the potential impacts of the construction of an offshore wind farm on rocky substratum.
C24.6 18:45 Effects on bluefin tuna behaviour of offshore wind turbine operational noise. Espinosa, V *, Universitat PolitĂ¨cnica de Valencia (UPV); Perez-Arjona, I Universitat PolitĂ¨cnica de Valencia (UPV); Puig, V Universitat PolitĂ¨cnica de Valencia (UPV); Soliveres, E Universitat PolitĂ¨cnica de Valencia (UPV); OrdoĂ±ez, P Universitat PolitĂ¨cnica de Valencia (UPV); Poveda P Universitat d\\\'Alacant; Ramis J Universitat d\\\'Alacant; de la Gandara, F , Insituto EspaĂ±ol de OceanografĂa; |
Abstract: The number of offshore wind farms is growing up quickly in the lasts years. Several studies about its environmental acoustic impacts have been developed at the same time the industry expands, most of them related to the high level impulsive noise produced during the pile diving process in construction stage. Nevertheless, the study of the impact of the operational noise of turbines is very limited. We investigate the behavioural response of Bluefin tuna when exposed to the operation noise of a turbine. We analysed tuna reaction in terms of three parameters: depth of the school, swimming pattern and changes in the swimming direction. The experiment was developed in a fixed commercial tuna cage in the Mediterranean Sea. The usual behaviour of Bluefin tuna in captivity conditions was previously analysed using a continuous monitorization. Variations in depth were observed when feeding boat approaches, which could be interpreted as a consequence of the acoustical stimulus. The turbine noise was acoustically characterized, and reproduced using a broad-band underwater source. To monitor tuna behaviour two echosounders and a video system were simultaneously used. When exposed to short duration noise tuna behaviour does not exhibit clear disturbances. Nevertheless, with long duration emission tuna reacted: school reduced the radio of the circular swimming region, moved up to the surface and some individuals were disorientated. Tuna seems to be habituated after several repetitions is short time.
C24.7 19:00 Bayesian Inference of Benthic Infauna Habitat Suitability along the US West Coast. Havron, Andrea *, Oregon State University; Goldfinger, Chris Oregon State University; Henkel, Sarah Oregon State University; Romsos, Chris Oregon State University; Gilbane, Lisa Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management; |
Abstract: Mitigating for increased human impact in US coastal waters associated with offshore renewable energy device deployment requires an understanding of the distribution of sensitive marine benthic species. For managers to make informed decisions that advance societal development while lessening the impact on species of interest, integrative models that consider interactions between various parts of the ecosystem and impacts are needed. One predictive method, Bayesian Networks (BNs) excels in its ability to handle multi-collinearity, missing data, small data sets, and allows for easy tracking of uncertainty through the modeling process. These challenges are common in typically underconstrained marine datasets. BNs were developed to statistically infer suitable habitat for several species of benthic infauna along the continental shelf of the Unites States Pacific Northwest. We used Netica object oriented software to implement the design and analysis of the statistical models and applied a cross validation model selection technique. Two regional maps were produced for each species, communicating habitat suitability and prediction uncertainty. With both maps, environmental managers will be better equipped to make decisions that progress human interests while minimizing impact on species of interest. These methods are broadly applicable to a wide range of ecosystem models, particular in underconstrained settings where detailed sampling over large regions is not practical.