The 2017 annual meeting of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) was attended by 19 experts, representing seven countries and was held in Gdynia, Poland from March 6-10, 2017. The meeting was co-chaired by Jennifer Dannheim (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany) and Andrew B. Gill (Cranfield University, United Kingdom/Cape Eleuthera Institute, the Bahamas).
The question of Scale was the focus of ToR A. This ToR was determined as crucial to the work of the group following the first three years of WGMBRED. So we took previous case studies, which were set up at the last meeting and in sub-groups developed them in the context of defining their key elements associated with scale effects. From these case studies a conceptual model to show why scale matters has started to be developed.
The goal of the work on ToR B was to expand the matrices of effects to encompass those devices not considered in the knowledge publication (Dannheim, Degraer, Jackson et al. unpubl.) which considered fixed wind devices only. In order to progress, the knowledge base was updated in relation to specific marine renewable devices, i.e. floating wind, wave and tidal devices. Matrixes on the likely interactions between specific devices (i.e., floating wind, wave and tidal) were elucidated using the template on specific cause-effect relationship and the scoring system following the scheme presented in the ICES WGBMRED report in 2015 which accounts for the spatial and temporal scale of an effect, the sensitivity, the confidence and consistency. Matrixes and scoring of effects were summarised in tables for each marine renewable energy device.
With ToR C intersessional work using an online survey questionnaire provided some very interesting pilot data on a network analysis, which is being undertaken to create a map of interconnectivity between individuals, which when combined with information about individuals’ membership of groups, generates new information on the way that groups interact, exchange knowledge and influence each other. During the meeting further contact details were sought to increase the number of respondents to the questionnaire for a more thorough analysis. This will form the basis of the main analysis and publishable outputs.
ToR D was addressed by looking at the cause-effect relationships in the conceptual scheme (see ICES WGMBRED report 2016), the functions that may be changed and to link these functions to specific services provided by the benthos. The group aimed at defining ecologically relevant indicators that are suitable to detect changes in functions and thus benthic services. Ecosystem services were identified following mainly Hattam et al. (2015, which basically is following CICES). The ToR D was tackled in three sub-groups related to the societal important issues: biogeochemical reactor, food resources and biodiversity.