Recent Research of Interest to the MRE Industry


Title: Recent Research of Interest to the MRE Industry
Date: January 18, 2017
16:00-17:30 UTC+00:00
Technology Type:

Webinar #11 in Annex IV Environmental Webinar Series

Sponsored by Ocean Energy Systems (OES)

January 18, 2017 @ 16:00 - 17:30 UTC



This webinar will feature two recent sets of research findings that will further elucidate the importance of EMF from cables and fish interaction with devices to the industry.


Webinar Presenters


The presentation for the webinar is available here.


Haley Viehman, Post-doctoral Fellow, Acadia University


Haley grew up on the coast of Maine, where poking around in rocky tide pools first sparked her interest in marine biology.  She studied Civil Engineering at Cornell University, where she found that she enjoyed working on projects that included environmental, engineering, and societal components.  She pursued this interdisciplinary interest in graduate school at the University of Maine and received her MS and PhD using hydroacoustics to study the effects of tidal energy devices deployed in Cobscook Bay, Maine, on fish.  Haley recently became a post-doctoral fellow at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and will be working with the University and the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) to continue evaluating fish interactions with tidal energy devices in the Bay of Fundy.


Ann Bull, Ph.D., Chief, Environmental Sciences Section, Pacific Region Office of Environment, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


A Southern California native, Ann was brought up on the ocean and worked as a deck-hand for her father during commercial fishing and charter boat operations. She received her Bachelor’s degree in both Biochemistry and Biology from University of California San Diego and went on to obtain a Master’s and PhD from Louisiana State University with her graduate fieldwork being completed at the Marine Biological Laboratory Woods Hole. Her post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University centered on the health of fish populations and their responses to anthropogenic changes of their environments. A career employee for the Department of the Interior in environmental research and assessment, she worked over a decade for the former Minerals Management Service, now, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), in the Gulf of Mexico Region and has been with BOEM Pacific Region since 2001. Dr. Bull’s research interests center on the ecological influence and effects, on both a local and regional scale, of offshore energy installations and artificial reefs. She is presently a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Academy of Sciences and the Chief of Environmental Sciences, BOEM Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region where she oversees a multi-million dollar studies program on the OCS of California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.


Additional Questions

Questions for: Haley Viehman

After the ORPC turbine was removed, did you notice any immediate changes in fish presence that could be correlated with the removal of the turbine?

We did not compare during/after with this dataset, but we have been carrying on another study in the same location with the goal of comparing before/after turbine installation.  We were able to carry out multiple 24-hr surveys in the years leading up to turbine deployment, and three while the turbine was in place.  We found some differences when comparing before/after installation, but these seemed more related to on-water and construction activity than turbine operation.  We need more data to be taken while a turbine is deployed to draw firmer conclusions.


The variability of presence of fish in Cobscook Bay is based at least partly on the assemblage of fish species present.  And this will be different in different tidal areas.  What advice would you have for those who want to carry out these same sort of surveys in another location?

The behavior of fish tends to be strongly linked to their physical environment, though the nature of their responses to environmental conditions varies with species and life stage.  If species in the area in question are known, previous studies may exist that hint at what patterns in activity may be expected at a given tidal site based on the environmental conditions, and this can guide sampling protocols.  With or without knowledge of the species present, the very strong physical forcing at tidal energy sites is likely to strongly influence fish in the area, as we saw in this study.  It is likely that tidal harmonics, the diel cycle, and the seasonal cycle (depending on location) will to be important to consider when planning monitoring studies at any tidal energy site. 


Are your fish survey recommendations transferrable to other locations?

Yes, the approach we recommend involves incorporating knowledge of physical cycles at a location into study design, and this is applicable anywhere.  It is especially important in areas with strong cyclic changes, such as tidal power sites, as more extreme variation in the metric of interest (e.g. fish passage rate) has the potential to strongly affect observed trends if it is not accounted for. 


A video recording of the webinar is available here.

Past Events in the Series

  • Role of Biofouling in Marine Renewable Energy Development Webinar, Online, July 12, 2016 15:00-16:30 UTC+0000
  • 2016 Annex IV State of the Science Webinar, Online, May 10, 2016 15:30-16:30 UTC+0000
  • Adaptive Management in the Marine Renewable Energy Industry Webinar, Online, January 27, 2016 16:30-18:00 UTC+0000
  • The Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on Marine Animals Webinar, Online, May 7, 2015 16:00-17:30 UTC+0000
  • Effects of Energy Removal on Physical Systems Webinar, Online, February 3, 2015 16:00-17:30 UTC+0000
  • Tidal Energy Research in the Bay of Fundy Webinar, Online, October 27, 2014 16:30-18:00 UTC+0000
  • Instrumentation Workshop Webinar, Online, January 23, 2014 16:30-18:00 UTC+0000
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