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Impacts of offshore wind farms on marine ecosystems (Understanding the effects of wind-farms on ecosystem)

  • Kazama Kentaro
    Laboratory of Environmental Zoology, Faculty of Agriculture, Meijo University

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Other Title
  • 洋上風力発電が海洋生態系におよぼす影響 (<特集>風力発電が生態系に与える影響を考える)
  • 洋上風力発電が海洋生態系におよぼす影響
  • ヨウジョウ フウリョク ハツデン ガ カイヨウ セイタイケイ ニ オヨボス エイキョウ

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Abstract

Offshore wind-power generation is one of the fastest growing industries in many areas, especially Europe. Offshore wind farms (OWFs) can provide several economic benefits, but are potential threats to some marine organisms. Noises produced by exploration drilling and pile-driving during construction of OWFs can impede acoustic communication of fishes and marine mammals. Wind turbine bases with scour protection structures directly reduce the habitats of marine organisms and potentially affect their survival by altering oceanographic conditions and food availability. Collisions between turbines and flying birds have also been frequently observed at OWFs. Foraging seabirds and/or migratory terrestrial birds display avoidance responses to OWFs (e.g. detour flights around the turbines), and several researchers have modelled the additional energetic costs of such detour flights and potential impacts on the body condition of the birds. Further long-term studies are needed for various organisms at OWFs across a broad geographic distribution. Efforts to mitigate the impacts of OWFs on marine ecosystems should include the avoidance of OWF construction in areas harbouring important foraging areas and migratory routes, acoustic deterrence methods (e.g. bubble curtain) during construction, and turning off turbines during breeding and migrating seasons.

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