Modelling impacts of offshore wind farms on trophic web: the Courseulles-sur-Mer case study

Conference Paper

Title: Modelling impacts of offshore wind farms on trophic web: the Courseulles-sur-Mer case study
Publication Date:
April 22, 2016
Conference Name: EGU General Assembly
Conference Location: Vienna, Austria
Pages: 14432
Publisher: NASA

Document Access

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


Raoux, A.; Pezy, J.; Dauvin, J.; Tecchio, S.; Degraer, S.; Wilhelmsson, D.; Niquil, N. (2016). Modelling impacts of offshore wind farms on trophic web: the Courseulles-sur-Mer case study. Paper Presented at the EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria.

The French government is planning the construction of three offshore wind farms in Normandy. These offshore wind farms will integrate into an ecosystem already subject to a growing number of anthropogenic disturbances such as transportation, fishing, sediment deposit, and sediment extraction. The possible effects of this cumulative stressors on ecosystem functioning are still unknown, but they could impact their resilience, making them susceptible to changes from one stable state to another. Understanding the behaviour of these marine coastal complex systems is essential in order to anticipate potential state changes, and to implement conservation actions in a sustainable manner. Currently, there are no global and integrated studies on the effects of construction and exploitation of offshore wind farms. Moreover, approaches are generally focused on the conservation of some species or groups of species. Here, we develop a holistic and integrated view of ecosystem impacts through the use of trophic webs modelling tools. Trophic models describe the interaction between biological compartments at different trophic levels and are based on the quantification of flow of energy and matter in ecosystems. They allow the application of numerical methods for the characterization of emergent properties of the ecosystem, also called Ecological Network Analysis (ENA). These indices have been proposed as ecosystem health indicators as they have been demonstrated to be sensitive to different impacts on marine ecosystems. We present here in detail the strategy for analysing the potential environmental impacts of the construction of the Courseulles-sur-Mer offshore wind farm (Bay of Seine) such as the reef effect through the use of the Ecopath with Ecosim software. Similar Ecopath simulations will be made in the future on the Le Tréport offshore wind farm site. Results will contribute to a better knowledge of the impacts of the offshore wind farms on ecosystems. They also allow to define recommendations for environmental managers and industry in terms of monitoring the effects of Marine Renewable Energy, not only locally, but also on other sites, national and European levels. Finally, this approach could contribute to a better social acceptability of Marine Renewable Energy projects allowing a holistic vision of all pressures on ecosystems.

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