Impacts of offshore wind farm construction on harbour porpoises: acoustic monitoring of echo-location activity using porpoise detectors (T-PODs)

Journal Article

Title: Impacts of offshore wind farm construction on harbour porpoises: acoustic monitoring of echo-location activity using porpoise detectors (T-PODs)
Publication Date:
January 01, 2006
Journal: Marine Ecology Progress Series
Volume: 321
Pages: 295-308
Publisher: Inter-Research
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Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(571 KB)

Citation

Carstensen, J.; Henriksen, O.; Teilmann, J. (2006). Impacts of offshore wind farm construction on harbour porpoises: acoustic monitoring of echo-location activity using porpoise detectors (T-PODs). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 321, 295-308.
Abstract: 

Offshore wind farming is a new emerging technology in the field of renewable energies. This study investigates the potential impact of the construction of one of the first major, offshore wind farms (>100 MW) on harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena by means of acoustic porpoise detectors (T-PODs) monitoring porpoise echolocation activity. The monitoring program was established as a modified BACI (before, after, control, impact) design, with 6 monitoring stations equally distributed between the impact area and a nearby reference area. Mean waiting times, defined as the period between 2 consecutive encounters of echolocation activity, increased from 6 h in the baseline period to 3 d in the wind farm area during the construction. This increase was 6 times larger than changes observed in the reference area. One specific construction activity, involving the ramming and vibration of steel sheet piles into the seabed, was associated with an additional significant increase in waiting time of 4 to 41 h, in both the construction and reference areas. Assuming that echolocation activity is related to harbour porpoise density, the analysis shows that their habitat-use changed substantially, with the porpoises leaving the construction area of the offshore wind farm. Acoustic monitoring from fixed positions provides data with a high temporal resolution, but low spatial resolution, which can be analysed at a variety of scales, and can be applied to harbour porpoises and other echolocating cetaceans.

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