Do offshore wind farms influence the occurence of ichthyoplankton and squid larvae?

The growing interest and need to develop greener sources of energy such as wind farms, creates the necessity to study the impact of such structures on the marine environment. Changes in the seafloor structure following the turbine construction create favorable conditions, such as shelter and food availability, for both adult fish, invertebrates and their early-life stages. Due to the importance of early-life history for population dynamics and even fisheries, their incorporation in monitoring reports is crucial. This study aimed at determining if wind farms influenced the density of fish eggs, larvae and squid larvae. Monthly samples were collected with plankton tow nets to evaluate the existence of spatial (reference vs concession area) and temporal (seasonal and annual) variability at the Thorntonbank sandbank off the Belgian coast. From this study, the presence of the wind farm apparently has little or no effect on the early-life stages of those organisms, but temporal variability was observed. Nevertheless, this study was highly important in promoting the incorporation of early-life stages in the monitoring reports and as a starting point for future designation of wind farms as spawning and nursery areas. Further studies will confirm if the effects were in fact absent or simply undetected.

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0713 - Offshore and renewable energy