State of the Science Workshop
2020 State of the Science on Offshore Wind: Cumulative Impacts to Wildlife
May 5-6, 2020
Benthos – This group will build off existing work in Europe, such as the Dutch Governmental Offshore Wind Ecological Programme (WOZEP) , to identify research questions to improve our understanding of cumulative biological impacts to benthos from offshore wind development. Group discussion will focus on how best to understand the potential long-term effects of offshore wind development on benthic communities, including changes in substrate availability, community composition, and ecosystem structure and function.
Fishes and mobile invertebrates – This group will build on existing research priorities to improve our understanding of the cumulative impacts of offshore wind development on fishes and invertebrates in the water column. Group discussion could focus on the effects of aquatic noise (both sound pressure and particle motion), electromagnetic fields from buried cables, changes in habitat complexity (which in turn could alter availability of food, shelter, and spawning habitat), or other habitat change.
Birds – This group will build off existing research in Europe, as well as recent efforts in the eastern U.S. to develop a scientific research framework to understand the effects of offshore wind development on birds and bats. Discussion will focus on how best to improve our understanding of cumulative impacts from offshore wind to birds in relation to displacement and barrier effects, collision mortality, and habitat change. This will include consideration of known and suspected taxon-specific differences in vulnerability to these stressors.
Bats – This group will build off existing research such as the Dutch Governmental Offshore Wind Ecological Programme (WOZEP) , as well as recent efforts in the eastern U.S. to develop a scientific research framework to understand the effects of offshore wind development on birds and bats. Group discussions will focus on how best to improve our understanding of the potential for cumulative impacts to bats from offshore wind development, including addressing gaps in our knowledge of bat abundance, distribution, and behavior in the offshore environment, and the potential for collision-related impacts.
Marine mammals – This group will use the recent development of a scientific research framework to understand the impacts of offshore wind development in the northeastern U.S. on protected species, which identifies hypotheses relating to short- and long-term effects of wind energy development at the project level. Group discussion will focus on how best to improve our understanding of potential cumulative impacts to marine mammals in relation to aquatic noise, collision risk, and other factors, including identifying specific studies to test identified hypotheses.
Sea turtles – This group may use information on impacts to sea turtles from other industries, such as offshore oil and gas, as well as the recent development of a scientific research framework to understand the impacts to protected species from offshore wind development in the northeastern U.S. Group discussion will focus on how best to improve our understanding of the potential cumulative impacts to sea turtles from offshore wind development in relation to underwater sound, vessel interactions, EMF, or other factors.
Environmental Change – Building off existing work by MARACOOS and others, this group will focus on how best to improve our understanding of the cumulative effects of offshore wind on oceanographic conditions and habitats. Discussion topics could include the potential for offshore wind development to influence cold pool mixing, local wind patterns, wave generation, tidal amplitudes, stratification of the water column, and dynamics of suspended particles and bedload transport of sediment.
The $95 registration fee includes attendance and lunches at both days of the workshop (May 5-6) and attendance at the evening poster session on May 5. Workshop registration closes April 13. Discounted registration is available for students by using the promo code "STUDENT2020". Students will be required to show a valid student ID at workshop check-in. Discounted registration is also available for New York State employees. Please contact Kate Williams for more information. If you would like to register for only the first day of the workshop (May 5), please use promo code "SOTSDay1ONLY".
The first day of the workshop will summarize the current state of knowledge on cumulative impacts from offshore wind energy development. A poster session will be held in the evening. On May 6th, after morning plenaries, workshop attendees will be divided into smaller working meetings focused on developing research plans to improve our understanding of cumulative impacts for benthos, fishes, birds, bats, marine mammals, sea turtles, and environmental change (descriptions below). If registering for both days of the workshop, you will be asked to provide your first and second choice for breakout groups. Participation in breakout groups will require prior approval from workshop leads.
Dutch Governmental Offshore Wind Ecological Programme. 2016. Offshore wind energy ecological programme (WOZEP): Monitoring and research programme 2017-2021. Rijkswaterstaat. 69 pp. Available here
Bird and Bat Scientific Research Framework effort supported by NYSERDA. Learn more
Kraus, S.D., R.D. Kenney, and L. Thomas. 2019. A framework for studying the effects of offshore wind development on marine mammals and sea turtles. Report prepared for the Massachusetts Clean Energy center, Boston, MA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. 48 pp. Available here
Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Observing System. Learn more
Photo credits: Loggerhead sea turtle © Kate Sutherland; Benthos © Yannis Papanastasopoulos; Fish © Lance Anderson; Northern gannet © Benoit Gauzere; Bats © Clament Falize; Humpback whale © Richard Sagredo; Green sea turtle © James Thorton; Ocean © Ines Alvarez