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.

Understanding Benthic Productivity on Artificial Structures: Maximising the Benefit of Marine Renewable Energy Devices

Research Study Annex IV

Title: Understanding Benthic Productivity on Artificial Structures: Maximising the Benefit of Marine Renewable Energy Devices
Start Date:
May 17, 2011
Research End Date:
January 01, 2015
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
June 20, 2017
Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: Sally Rouse

Address: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5NN, UK

Phone: +44(0)1631559278


Project Description: 

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. 

Funding Source: 

Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) and Scottish Power Renewables.

Location of Research: 

Loch Linnhe, Scotland

Project Aims: 

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.

Project Progress: 

This project concluded in January 2015.

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