Annex IV distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from researchers around the world who are exploring the environmental effects of marine renewable energy. This page provides a description and contact information related to the research. Content is updated on an annual basis.

Impacts of Offshore Renewable Energy Devices on Population Connectivity

Research Study Annex IV

Title: Impacts of Offshore Renewable Energy Devices on Population Connectivity
Start Date:
October 01, 2010
Research End Date:
September 01, 2013
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
September 07, 2016
Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: Thomas Adam


Project Description: 

Understanding the impact of offshore renewable energy device installations on larval dispersal in nearshore areas. These devices provide habitat over the full range of the water column, from intertidal to deep-water, and can be expected to host a very diverse range of organisms. These populations may provide stepping stones between existing habitat, changing dispersal pathways and potentially assisting the passage of invasive species.

Funding Source: 

Marine Renewable Energy and the Environment project grant (EU European Regional Development Fund, Scottish Funding Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise)

Location of Research: 

Scottish West coast

Project Aims: 

To assess the impact of novel habitat on dispersal and its role in allowing transgression of physical barriers.

Project Progress: 


Key Findings: 

Model renewable energy device sites provided habitat for pelagic larval particles that would otherwise have been lost offshore. They also provided a source of larvae for existing coastal sites.


Many offshore devices fulfilled source and destination (or intermediate connection) roles, creating new dispersal pathways, and allowing previously impossible northward dispersal from the Northern Irish coast to Scotland.


Synthesis and applications. New habitat close to biogeographical barriers has implications for existing species’ distributions and genetic population structure. It also affects the spread of non-native species and ‘climate migrants’. Monitoring these sites for the presence of such species will be important in determining the future ecology of coastal habitat and in maintaining economic aquaculture and marina operations. Future model studies should focus on particular species of importance, taking account of their biology and current distribution

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