Expert Forum: Potential Risks to Larvae and Plankton from Tidal Turbines


Title: Expert Forum: Potential Risks to Larvae and Plankton from Tidal Turbines
Date: August 11, 2016
4:00-5:00 UTC+00:00
Technology Type:

Expert Forum #3


Hosted by Andrea Copping, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

August 11, 2016



Lobster and fish larvae are most commonly buoyant and distributed by tidal currents, waves, and other water movements to allow for their dispersal. Similarly zooplankton that spend their lives in the pelagic zone (holoplankton) are at the mercy of water movement. Tidal turbines sited in the estuaries and coastal waters to generate renewable energy are likely to intersect the movement of larvae and zooplankton. Concerns have been raised that commercially and recreationally important species, as well as those that form the base of the marine food web, could be harmed by the operation of tidal turbines.


This forum focused on whether lobster and fish larvae and other zooplankton may be at risk from tidal energy development, whether there is a suitable way to evaluate that risk, and how that risk may be communicated to regulators and stakeholders. (Annex IV Introductory slides). The experts concluded that tidal turbines would be unlikely to pose a risk to these small size classes of marine life.



Potential Risks to Larvae and Plankton from Tidal Turbines: Background

Raeanne Miller, Scottish Association for Marine Sciences (SAMS)


Physics of Turbines Translated to the Planktonic Scale

Brian Sanderson, Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research (ACER)


Lobster Larvae in the Bay of Fundy: Consideration of Risk Due to Turbine Developments in Minas Passage

Brady Quinn, University of New Brunswick


Assessment of Zooplankton Injury and Mortality Resulting from the Deployment of Underwater Turbines for Tidal Enery Projection

David Schleizinger, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth


Other Participants:


A video recording of the discussion has been posted below:

Past Events in the Series

  • Expert Forum: Analyzing Acoustic Data around Marine Energy Devices, Online, July 24, 2014 17:00-18:00 UTC+0000
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