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

Lead Research Organisation: Scottish Association For Marine Science
Department Name: Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory

Abstract

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Planned Impact

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Publications

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Benjamins S (2017) Harbour porpoise distribution can vary at small spatiotemporal scales in energetic habitats in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography

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Benjamins S (2016) Riding the tide: use of a moving tidal-stream habitat by harbour porpoises in Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Hastie G (2017) Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: Implications for collision risk in Journal of Applied Ecology

 
Description We developed a method to investigate how marine mammals (seals and porpoises) respond to the presence of tidal turbines before they are installed in the sea.
The work involved playing back the sound of turbines in sites used by high densities of animals and observing their responses.
For the particular turbine noise presented, seals showed a local response and no response was detected for the porpoises. These results help frame the likely impacts we might see of turbines and the spatial range over which monitoring should occur.
The methods developed could be used to investigate other industrial impacts where the technologies have yet to be fully developed.
Exploitation Route Findings are highly relevant to ongoing monitoring plans both in the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in particular) and further afield by inclusion in IEA Ocean Energy Systems Annex IV programmes.
Sectors Energy

Environment

URL https://pure.uhi.ac.uk/portal/files/1810327/Benjamins_et_al_2015_Review_of_marine_megafauna_interactions_with_tidal_stream_environments.pdf
 
Description Method demonstrated. However this was for the leading tidal turbine design at the time. That company has now been wound up and the IP bought by another developer with a different turbine design. However our method is applicable to many other companies as they develop their monitoring programmes This method has the potential to de-risk and accelerate consenting for marine renewable energy devices in the UK and globally where issues of marine mammal - turbine strikes are a consideration. Changes in seal behaviour as a result of the noise have been demonstrated, porpoises did not respond. Furthermore significant variation in porpoises in space and time popped out from the experiment and has been a result of interest to the renewables industry and regulators.
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic