The effect of the installation of offshore windfarms on soft-sediment macrofauna: a 5 years study from the Thornton Bank (Belgian part of the North Sea)

To comply with Europen legistlation, Belgium aims to produce 13% of its electrical consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. Wind farms are a good option to achieve this target. Therefore, Belgium facilitated the installation of offshore wind farms; the first wind mills were installed on the Thornton Bank. A monitoring program was adopted to evaluate the effect of these constructions on the marine environment. This thesis contributes to this work. As a first objective, we evaluated the possible effects of constructing windmill farms on the marine macrobenthos by comparing the communities sampled in a control area (the Goote Bank) and the impacted sandbank (the Thorntonbank). Secondly; we aim at providing advice with regard to the design of future monitoring campaigns. Therefore, data were analysed according to two statistical designs: “Design 1” is based on limited number of stations with replicates. “Design 2” is based on more stations where only replicate was available. Macrobenthic communities changed due two main actors. The first is windmills construction. The second is the natural variation of the macrobenthos. The large number of stations without replicates is better for illustration the short period biomonitoring. More replicates are useful in case of long term of biomonitoring.

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