Name: Sally Rouse
Address: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5NN, UK
Marine renewable energy devices (MREDs) constitute artificial reefs and have the capacity to host biological assemblages that deliver ecological services. Understanding the performance of artificial reefs, in terms of productivity, has been identified as one of the pressing research needs in relation to the ecological impacts of offshore renewables.
Cuttings of the bioindicator bryozoan Flustra foliacea will be collected and redeployed to the Loch Linnhe Reef, a 6200 tonne multi-modular, purpose-built underwater experimental matrix located off the west coast of Scotland. Variations in the growth of these colonies will be linked to variations in the food supply, as a function of flow interactions and sedimentation on, or within, a single reef unit (e.g. height on the reef), and between different reef units.
Renewable energy structures have many of the characteristics of artificial reefs. The Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef, completed in 2006, has been designed to facilitate research into the interaction between man-made structures and their environment, including potentially beneficial effects on fisheries and local biodiversity.
Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) and Scottish Power Renewables.
Loch Linnhe, Scotland
Understanding the processes that govern the productivity associated with artificial structures will enable us to both predict the ecological consequences of deploying MREDs and inform us how to modify proposed, or existing structures, in order to maximise their benefit to coastal ecosystems. Such an approach will mitigate against the potential loss of access (e.g. to fishermen) that may occur around offshore renewable devices.
This project concluded in January 2015.
- Rouse, S., Spencer Jones, M. E., & Porter, J. S. (2013). Spatial and temporal patterns of bryozoan distribution and diversity in the Scottish sea regions. Marine Ecology.
- Wilding TA (2006) The benthic impacts of the Loch Linnhe artificial reef. Hydrobiologia 555: 345 - 353.
- Wilding TA, Sayer MDJ (2002) Evaluating artificial reef performance: approaches to pre- and post-deployment research. ICES Journal of Marine Science 59: S222-S230.