In the light of the introduction of thousands of large offshore wind power foundations into the North Sea within the next decades, this manuscript focuses on the biofouling processes and likely reef effects. The study explores the macrozoobenthos (biofouling) colonization at an offshore platform which is comparable to offshore wind turbine foundations. A total of 183 single samples were taken and the parameters water depth and time were considered comparing biofouling masses and communities. The blue mussel Mytilus edulis, Anthozoa and the Amphipoda Jassa spp. were the dominant species. The community from the 1 m zone and those from the 5 and 20-28 m zones can clearly be differentiated. The 10 m zone community represents the transition between the M. edulis dominated 1 m and 5 m zones and the Anthozoa dominated 20-28 m zone. In the future offshore wind farms, thousands of wind turbine foundations will provide habitat for a hard bottom fauna which is otherwise restricted to the sparse rocky habitats scattered within extensive sedimentary soft bottoms of the German Bight. However, offshore wind power foundations cannot be considered natural rock equivalents as they selectively increase certain natural hard bottom species. The surface of the construction (1280 m2) was covered by an average of 4300 kg biomass. This foundation concentrates on its footprint area (1024 m2) 35 times more macrozoobenthos biomass than the same area of soft bottom in the German exclusive economic zone (0.12 kg m-2), functioning as a biomass hotspot. Concerning the temporal biomass variation, we assume that at least 2700 kg biomass was exported on a yearly basis. 345 X 104 single mussel shells of different sizes were produced during the study period. It is anticipated that the M. edulis abundance will increase in the North Sea due to the expansion of the offshore wind farm development. This will result in the enhanced production of secondary hard substrate (mussel shells) and its associated fauna and will intensify filtration rates of the seawater. This predicted ecological system change is coined the ’''Mytilusation''’ of the German Bight.
Epifauna Dynamics at an Offshore Foundation - Implications of Future Wind Power Farming in the North Sea
Title: Epifauna Dynamics at an Offshore Foundation - Implications of Future Wind Power Farming in the North Sea
April 01, 2013
Journal: Marine Environmental Research
Krone, R.; Gutow, L.; Joschko, T.; Schröder, A. (2013). Epifauna Dynamics at an Offshore Foundation - Implications of Future Wind Power Farming in the North Sea. Marine Environmental Research, 85, 1-12.