Benthic effects of offshore renewables: identification of knowledge gaps and urgently needed research

Jennifer Dannheim , Lena Bergström , Silvana N. R. Birchenough , Radosław Brzana , Arjen R. Boon , Joop W. P. Coolen , Jean-Claude Dauvin , Ilse De Mesel , Jozefien Derweduwen , Andrew B. Gill , Zoë L. Hutchison , Angus C. Jackson , Urszula Janas , Georg Martin , Aurore Raoux , Jan Reubens , Liis Rostin , Jan Vanaverbeke , Thomas A. Wilding , Dan Wilhelmsson , Steven Degraer


As the EU's commitment to renewable energy is projected to grow to 20% of energy generation by 2020, the use of marine renewable energy from wind, wave and tidal resources is increasing. This literature review (233 studies) (i) summarizes knowledge on how marine renewable energy devices affect benthic environments, (ii) explains how these effects could alter ecosystem processes that support major ecosystem services and (iii) provides an approach to determine urgent research needs. Conceptual diagrams were set up to structure hypothesized cause-effect relationships (i.e. paths). Paths were scored for (i) temporal and spatial scale of the effect, (ii) benthic sensitivity to these effects, (iii) the effect consistency and iv) scoring confidence, and consecutively ranked. This approach identified prominent knowledge gaps and research needs about (a) hydrodynamic changes possibly resulting in altered primary production with potential consequences for filter feeders, (b) the introduction and range expansion of non-native species (through stepping stone effects) and, (c) noise and vibration effects on benthic organisms. Our results further provide evidence that benthic sensitivity to offshore renewable effects is higher than previously indicated. Knowledge on changes of ecological functioning through cascading effects is limited and requires distinct hypothesis-driven research combined with integrative ecological modelling.
Publication typeIn press (online first, early view)
Author Jennifer Dannheim
Jennifer Dannheim,,
, Lena Bergström
Lena Bergström,,
, Silvana N. R. Birchenough
Silvana N. R. Birchenough,,
, Radosław Brzana (FOG / IO / DEEMO)
Radosław Brzana,,
- Division of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms
, Arjen R. Boon
Arjen R. Boon,,
, Joop W. P. Coolen
Joop W. P. Coolen,,
, Jean-Claude Dauvin
Jean-Claude Dauvin,,
, Ilse De Mesel
Ilse De Mesel,,
, Jozefien Derweduwen
Jozefien Derweduwen,,
, Andrew B. Gill
Andrew B. Gill,,
et al.`
Journal seriesICES Journal of Marine Science, ISSN 1054-3139, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2019
Noonline first
Publication size in sheets0.8
Keywords in Englishbenthos, environmental impact, knowledge gaps, marine ecology, offshore wind farms, renewable energy
ASJC Classification2303 Ecology; 1104 Aquatic Science; 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; 1910 Oceanography
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)100
ScoreMinisterial score = 100.0, 30-09-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.245; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.906 (2) - 2017=2.969 (5)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.