Understanding How Marine Renewable Device Operations Influence Fine Scale Habitat Use and Behaviour of Marine Vertebrates (RESPONSE)

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng

Abstract

With the rapid development and imminent deployment of tidal and wave devices and the expansion of offshore wind power there is a pressing need to understand how marine wildlife is going to be affected by these developments. Existing regulations and mitigation measures are based on assumed effects. Lack of information means that the regulations may be either too onerous and recommended mitigation measures may be unnecessary or ineffective. There is a clear need to improve our understanding of how animals perceive and respond to devices and how these responses affect their behaviour, distribution and ultimately fitness.
The RESPONSE project is a multi-disciplinary study focussing on causal links between marine renewable devices (MRD) and changes in the fine-scale distribution and behaviour of marine vertebrates. The overall aim of the project is to identify and quantify actual risk of negative consequences and therefore remove one key layer of uncertainty in the scale of risk to the industry and natural environment.
The main objectives are to:
1. understand how stakeholders see the risks to the industry and to the environment.
2. measure the fine scale distribution of marine wildlife in high tidal and wave energy sites to understand how seals, cetaceans, birds and
large fish use such areas.
3. characterise acoustic, visual and electromagnetic signals that MRDs produce and assess the reactions of marine wildlife to those cues.
4. use the results in habitat preference models to infer zones of influence and avoidance associated with MRDs at both small and large
scales.
5. develop effective mitigation methods

We will achieve these objectives through a set of inter-related sub projects that will:-
1. bring together a UK wide group of regulators, conservation groups and industry to assess the perception of risk to the industry and
environment posed by negative interactions with marine wildlife.
2. use novel, high resolution GPS transmitters for seals and state of the art passive acoustics, active sonar and visual observation techniques
for porpoises, seabirds and fish to record details of their habitat use and behaviour in and around operational wave and tidal test sites and
an un-developed high energy tide site. These studies will be co-ordinated with FLOWBEC, another NERC/Defra funded project monitoring
the physical characteristics of the marine environment at these high energy sites
3. carryout a programme of physical measurements to characterise the outputs of MRDs that have a potential to cause disturbance to marine
wildlife.
4. carry out a series of controlled exposure/behaviour response trials with captive seals and with wild free ranging seals and porpoises.
5. use visual and acoustic observation data and the operating schedules of existing MRDs to assess the responses of seabirds to MRD
operations.
The results of 1 to 5 will be used to describe the effects of MRDs on individual animals over the short term, i.e. how they react to the stimuli, and over the medium to long term, i.e. how they change their movements and behaviour in response to exposure to the stimuli. These results will be used as direct input to the EBAO project, another NERC/Defra funded project modeling the potential impacts of large scale arrays of MRDs.
This project will provide a step change in knowledge about the existence and importance of adverse effects of MRDs and provide an ability to predict impacts of

Planned Impact

See main project proposal ref M1409107
 
Description Experimental design and determination of device noise characteristics
Exploitation Route Experimental procedures should lead to key information to aid impact assessment for wave and tidal development projects
Sectors Energy,Environment

 
Description Development of guidance notes for regulators for underwater monitoring at wave and Tidal Energy Site
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL http://www.nerc.ac.uk/innovation/activities/infrastructure/offshore/underwater-acoustic-monitoring-g...
 
Description Good practice guide: underwater noise measurment
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact This guidance document has been cited in the development of a number of international standards documents for performing underwater noise assessment particularly of marine energy system. The aim was to improve best practice both for regulators and industry practitioners by reducing the risk of uncertainty in the environmental impact assessment process for offshore projects and related economic impacts. No quantitive evaluation of direct impact is possible at this time.
URL http://www.npl.co.uk/content/ConPublication/6112
 
Description Knowledge Transfer Program (KTP)
Amount £140,505 (GBP)
Funding ID 9039-508742 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2013 
End 07/2015
 
Description Measuring ADD Noise in Tidal Streams (MANTIS)
Amount £349,108 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/R014132/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 07/2020
 
Description Anaysis of acoustic output from wave and tidal energy systems 
Organisation European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborative on going analysis of tidal stream data obtained from drift trials and seabed hydrophone.
Collaborator Contribution Data acquisition and data management of underwater recordings from tidal energy sites
Impact Joint publications in preparation in the field of underwater noise from tidal stream devices. Ongoing research proposal development.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaborative partnership with SAMS 
Organisation Scottish Association For Marine Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Ongoing partnership in the area of joint project development and delivery in the area of impact assessment of Marine Energy Systems. Multiple joint project since this one and serval journal research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Ongoing partnership in the area of joint project development and delivery in the area of impact assessment of Marine Energy Systems. Multiple joint project since this one and serval journal research outputs.
Impact Conference Paper: Good noise, bad noise: a tricky case of balancing risk of physical injury against acoustic disturbance for marine mammals & tidal energy devices. Ben Wilson, Brett Marmo, Paul Lepper, Denise Risch, Steven Benjamins , Gordon Hastie and Caroline Carter- May 2017The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 141(5):3921-3921 DOI10.1121/1.4988861Conference: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (multidisciplinary - physical sciences, marine biology, oceanography, physical acoustics and numerical modelling). Journal Paper van der Molen, J, Smith, HCM, Lepper, P, Limpenny, S, Rees, J (2014) Predicting the large-scale consequences of offshore wind turbine array development on a North Sea ecosystem, Continental Shelf Research, 85, pp.60-72, ISSN: 0278-4343. DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2014.05.018. Joint project NERC: Measuring ADD Noise in Tidal Streams (MANTIS) (2017) NE/R014132/1 Joint Project Research Forum (SARF): Impact of ADD on marine wildlife (2015)
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaborative partnership with SMRU (University of St Andrews) 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department Sea Mammal Research Unit
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of joint publications and proposal development
Collaborator Contribution Development of joint publications and proposal development
Impact Hastie, G, Russell, JF, Lepper, PA, Elliott, J, Wilson, B, Banjamins, S, Thompson, D (Accepted for publication 2017) Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: implications for collision risk, Journal of Applied Ecology, ISSN: 0021-8901. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12981.
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Warwick 
Organisation University of Warwick
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Direct collaboration as project partners under EP/R007756/1 Modelling, Optimisation and Design of Conversion for Offshore Renewable Energy (UK-China MOD-CORE) project as funded project partners
Collaborator Contribution Research coordinator with Chinese partners
Impact Visit summer 2018 with Chinese project partners to establish work flows in collaboration. Outputs planning and visits.
Start Year 2017