Imminent development of offshore wind farms on the outer continental shelf of the United States has led to signifcant concerns for marine wildlife. The scarcity of empirical data regarding fish species that may utilize development sites, further compounded by the novelty of the technology and inherent diffculty of conducting offshore research, make identifcation and assessment of potential stressors to species of concern problematic. However, there is broad potential to mitigate putatively negative impacts to seasonal migrants during the exploration and construction phases. The goal of this study was to establish baseline information on endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in the New York Wind Energy Area (NY WEA), a future ofshore development site. Passive acoustic transceivers equipped with acoustic release mechanisms were used to monitor the movements of tagged fish in the NY WEA from November 2016 through February 2018 and resulted in detections of 181 unique individuals throughout the site. Detections were highly seasonal and peaked from November through January. Conversely, fish were relatively uncommon or entirely absent during the summer months (July–September). Generalized additive models indicated that predictable transitions between coastal and offshore habitat were associated with long-term environmental cues and localized estuarine conditions, specifcally the interaction between photoperiod and river temperature. These insights into the ecology of marine-resident Atlantic Sturgeon are crucial for both defning monitoring parameters and guiding threat assessments in offshore waters and represent an important initial step towards quantitatively evaluating Atlantic Sturgeon at a scale relevant to future development.
Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in the New York Wind Energy Area: implications of future development in an offshore wind energy site
Title: Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in the New York Wind Energy Area: implications of future development in an offshore wind energy site
August 27, 2019
Journal: Scientific Reports
Ingram, E.; Cerrato, R.; Dunton, K.; Frisk, M. (2019). Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in the New York Wind Energy Area: implications of future development in an offshore wind energy site. Scientific Reports, 9.