Webinar #10 in Annex IV Environmental Webinar Series
Sponsored by Ocean Energy Systems (OES)
July 12, 2016 @ 15:00 - 16:30 UTC
Submerged structures in the sea almost universally harbour communities of organisms growing on exposed surfaces, marine renewable energy devices included. This marine growth, or biofouling, is comprised of a variety of species depending on the location, depth, and configuration of the structure. Biofouling, is often unwanted from an engineering perspective, and can have impact the structural integrity, efficiency and maintenance needs of devices. Non-native species are also commonly associated with man-made structures, making biofouling a risk for species invasions. At the same time, biofouling on submerged structures has been shown to increase local biodiversity, with growth attracting animals to structures to seek food or shelter.
While not yet considered to be a key strategic consenting issue by regulatory bodies, biofouling is becoming an important consideration for device developers and operators with increasing deployment experience. Similarly, as more devices are deployed, regulators are increasingly pressed to understand the potential for spread of non—native species, as well as any artificial reef impacts.
- Raeanne Miller, Scottish Association for Marine Sciences (SAMS)
Raeanne will highlight areas where knowledge exchange between biologists and industry representatives could help in understanding how biofouling communities develop and whether or not their makeup and potential consequences for structural design and survivability can be predicted. Specifically, she will focus on the environmental factors influencing marine growth communities, and on the outcomes of a recent industry consultation and workshop on biofouling which highlighted key ‘quick wins’ for research and development in this area.
- Jennifer Loxton, Environmental Research Institute, University of Highlands and Islands
Jennifer will discuss the implications of specific biofouling communities found on marine renewable energy devices deployed in the UK, Portugal and the Azores. The Environmental Research Institute and WavEC have surveyed numerous devices including tethered, intertidal and bottom mounted wave energy convertors, a tethered tidal device and floating wind turbines. Jen will discuss these survey results in relation to potential positive ecological effects, operational and maintenance considerations and the risk of non-native species harbouring and spread.
A video recording of the webinar has been posted below: