Assessing the impact of offshore wind farms and their cabling infrastructure on marine ecology can be challenging due to natural fluctuations in invertebrate assemblages and their habitats. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the biogenic reefs that form in the intertidal areas of the west coast of England and Wales. Here areas are dominated by either edible mussels (Mytilus edulis) or the honey comb worm (Sabellaria alveolata). They can form large biogenic reefs which dominate large areas of the shore. Their presence on the shore is not however permanent with complex population dynamics occurring, resulting in fluctuations in dominance of each biogenic reef. Long term data sets were examined in order to assess the external influences of competition and climate on these reefs. This revealed that wind speed and direction has a large influence on their abundance and on which type of reef can form. This therefore must be taken into consideration when assessing impacts in relation to renewables.
Long term studies on biogenic reefs and implications for offshore developments
Lancaster, J.; Walker, A. (2013). Long term studies on biogenic reefs and implications for offshore developments [Presentation]. Presented at the CWE, Stockholm.