Little is known about the effects of offshore energy installations on the marine environment, and further research could assist in minimizing environmental risks as well as in enhancing potential positive effects on the marine environment. While biofouling on marine energy conversion devices on one hand has the potential to be an engineering concern, these structures can also affect biodiversity by functioning as artificial reefs. The Lysekil Project is a test park for wave power located at the Swedish west coast. Here, buoys acting as point absorbers on the surface are connected to generators anchored on concrete foundations on the seabed. In this study we investigated the colonisation of foundations by invertebrates and fish, as well as fouling assemblages on buoys. We examined the influence of surface orientation of the wave power foundations on epibenthic colonisation, and made observations of habitat use by fish and crustaceans during three years of submergence. We also examined fouling assemblages on buoys and calculated the effects of biofouling on the energy absorption of the wave power buoys. On foundations we demonstrated a succession in colonisation over time with a higher degree of coverage on vertical surfaces. Buoys were dominated by the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Calculations indicated that biofouling have no significant effect in the energy absorption on a buoy working as a point absorber. This study is the first structured investigation on marine organisms associated with wave power devices.
Artificial Reef Effect and Fouling Impacts on Offshore Wave Power Foundations and Buoys - A Pilot Study
Title: Artificial Reef Effect and Fouling Impacts on Offshore Wave Power Foundations and Buoys - A Pilot Study
April 01, 2009
Journal: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Langhamer, O.; Wilhelmsson, D.; Engström, J. (2009). Artificial Reef Effect and Fouling Impacts on Offshore Wave Power Foundations and Buoys - A Pilot Study. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 82(2), 426-432.