The emerging development of offshore wind energy has raised public concern over its impact on seabird communities. There is a need for an adequate methodology to determine its potential impacts on seabirds. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are mostly relying on a succession of plain density maps without integrated interpretation of seabird spatio-temporal variability. Using Taylor’s power law coupled with mixed effect models, the spatio-temporal variability of species’ distributions can be synthesized in a measure of the aggregation levels of individuals over time and space. Applying the method to a seabird aerial survey in the Ebro Delta, NW Mediterranean Sea, we were able to make an explicit distinction between transitional and feeding areas to define and map the potential impacts of an offshore wind farm project. We use the Ebro Delta study case to discuss the advantages of potential impacts maps over density maps, as well as to illustrate how these potential impact maps can be applied to inform on concern levels, optimal EIA design and monitoring in the assessment of local offshore wind energy projects.
Seabird Aggregative Patterns: A New Tool for Offshore Wind Energy Risk Assessment
Title: Seabird Aggregative Patterns: A New Tool for Offshore Wind Energy Risk Assessment
January 15, 2013
Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Christel, I.; Certain, G.; Cama, A.; Vieites, D.; Ferrer, X. (2013). Seabird Aggregative Patterns: A New Tool for Offshore Wind Energy Risk Assessment. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 66(1-2), 84-91.