Report of the Workshop on Effects of Offshore Windfarms on Marine Benthos - Facilitating a closer international collaboration throughout the North Atlantic Region (WKEOMB) (Bijdrage J. Derweduwen)

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    The workshop ‘Effects of offshore wind farms on marine benthos – facilitating a closer international collaboration’ was held at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany. The workshop was attended by 19 experts, representing seven countries (Belgium, Germany, Estonia, France, Po-land, United Kingdom, Netherlands). Valuable remote contributions to the workshop were received from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The workshop was chaired by Jennifer Dannheim (AWI), Steven Degraer (Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sci-ence, MUMM, Belgium) and Lars Gutow (AWI).
    Offshore wind farms will most likely become one of the largest-scale anthropogenic activities in our coastal systems. Thus understanding the effects of offshore wind farms on the benthic system is of high priority. Over the last decade, benthic ecolo-gists have improved their knowledge on understanding how wind turbines affect the ecological functioning of benthos. This workshop aims at bringing together, for the first time, scientists from various countries that work on or are interested in this topic in order to exchange knowledge of the state of the art between experts, to condense knowledge on wind farm effects, to identify possible redundancies in monitoring programs, and to evaluate where to go in wind farm-benthos science, i.e. to identify potential knowledge gaps.
    During the first workshop day the national experts reported in a poster presentation on ongoing national research activities on effects of wind farm on marine benthos and demersal fish. An oral introduction to each poster was given by the respective author (17 posters, see Annex 7), followed by a poster session which aimed at intense communication and knowledge exchange among the experts. Based on the scientific exchange of the first workshop day, the aim of the second day was to identify poten-tial knowledge gaps, i.e. what cause-effect relationships arising from the construction and operation of offshore wind farms have not or insufficiently been studied. Finally, as the way forward, the perspectives and opportunities for collaboration with regard to identified knowledge gaps have been discussed. The report structure follows the foci of the workshop days: (1) state of the art knowledge, (2) identification of knowl-edge gaps, (3) perspectives and collaborations.
    The summary of a questionnaire which had been handed out to the participants be-fore the workshop and the poster presentations revealed substantial effects of off-shore wind farms on the benthos already in an early stage of the studies in different countries. The main outcomes of the workshop by expert knowledge and experience are:
    a ) a schematic summary of the manifold cause-effect relationships initiated by offshore wind farm installations;
    b ) a prioritisation scheme for defined research themes which are highly im-portant for ecosystem goods and services;
    c ) the agreement that the effects of offshore wind farm installations on the benthic ecosystem and their relevance to goods and services are underes-timated (compared to other ecosystem components) and need further in-vestigation;
    d ) the need for hypothesis-based target monitoring to understand cause-effect relationships in the benthic system; and
    e ) the need for international collaboration with guidelines for practical im-plementation and the recommendation to initiate an expert group on the effects on the marine benthal and renewable energy developments.
    The outcome and recommendations will enable in the future for focussing on specific processes in the benthal that deserves urgent investigation but which, at the same time, are important for marine ecosystem goods and services in the context of marine
    TaalEngels
    TitelICES CM 2012/SSGEF:13
    Aantal pagina's61
    Datum2012
    Pagina's61
    StatusGepubliceerd - 2012

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