Scotland has ambitious targets for harnessing marine renewable energy, and is at the forefront of developments in offshore wind, wave and tidal power.

Following our work on the Beatrice Demonstrator Project in 2005, we have been developing new approaches for assessing the impact of offshore windfarms on marine mammal populations. This currently involves both industry funded studies, for Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) and Beatrice Offshore Wind (BOWL), and work for the Scottish Government and other UK regulators.

Much of this work is being carried out in collaboration with partners from within MASTS, following a workshop that we co-organised to identify research and survey requirements for understanding interactions between marine top predators and renewable energy developments.

Example studies

Graham, I.M., Merchant, N.D., Farcas, A., Barton, T.R., Cheney, B., Bono, S. & Thompson, P.M. (2019) Harbour porpoise responses to pile-driving diminish over time. Royal Society Open Science 6: 10.1098/rsos.190335 

Thompson, P.M., Lusseau, D., Barton, T., Simmons, D., Rusin, J. & Bailey, H. (2010) Assessing the responses of coastal cetaceans to the construction of offshore wind turbines. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60: 1200-1208.

Bailey, H., Senior, B., Simmons, D., Rusin, J., Picken, G. & Thompson, P.M. (2010) Assessing underwater noise levels during pile-driving at an offshore windfarm and its potential effects on marine mammals. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60: 888-897.