A generic framework to assess the representation and protection of benthic ecosystems in European marine protected areas
Greathead, Clare ; Magni, Paolo ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Buhl‐Mortensen, Lene ; Janas, Urszula ; Blomqvist, Mats ; Craeymeersch, Johan A. ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Darr, Alexander ; Degraer, Steven ; Desroy, Nicolas ; Donnay, Annick ; Griffiths, Yessica ; Guala, Ivan ; Guerin, Laurent ; Hinchen, Hayley ; Labrune, Celine ; Reiss, Henning ; Hoey, Gert Van; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. - \ 2020
Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems 30 (2020)7. - ISSN 1052-7613 - p. 1253 - 1275.
There is concern across the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) region that a consideration of vulnerable components and the wider support mechanisms underpinning benthic marine ecosystems may be lacking from the process of marine protected area (MPA) designation, management and monitoring. In this study, MPAs across six European ecoregions were assessed from a benthic ecology perspective. The study included 102 MPAs, designated by 10 countries, and focused on three aspects regarding the role of the benthos in: (i) the designation of MPAs; (ii) the management measures used in MPAs; and (iii) the monitoring and assessment of MPAs. Qualitative entries to a questionnaire based on an existing framework (EU project ‘Monitoring Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas’, (MESMA) were collected by 19 benthic experts of the ICES Benthic Ecology Working Group. A pedigree matrix was used to apply a numerical scale (score) to these entries. The results showed clear differences in scores between ecoregions and between criteria. The designation‐phase criteria generally achieved higher scores than the implementation‐phase criteria. Poor designation‐phase scores were generally reiterated in the implementation‐phase scores, such as scores for assessment and monitoring. Over 70% of the MPA case studies were found to consider the benthos to some extent during selection and designation; however, this was not followed up with appropriate management measures and good practice during the implementation phase.
Poor spatial and temporal coverage of monitoring and ineffective indicators is unlikely to pick up changes caused by management measures in the MPA. There is concern that without adequate monitoring and adaptive management frameworks, the MPAs will be compromised. Also, there could be an increased likelihood that, with regard to the benthos, they will fail to meet their conservation objectives. This assessment was successful in highlighting issues related to the representation and protection of the benthos in MPAs and where changes need to be made, such as expanding the characterization and monitoring of benthic species or habitats of interest. These issues could be attributable to an ongoing process and/or an indication that some MPAs only have ‘paper protection’.
Benthic effects of offshore renewables: identification of knowledge gaps and urgently needed research
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Bergström, Lena ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Brzana, Radosław ; Boon, Arjen R. ; Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Dauvin, Jean-Claude ; Mesel, Ilse De; Derweduwen, Jozefien ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Hutchison, Zoë L. ; Jackson, Angus C. ; Janas, Urszula ; Martin, Georg ; Raoux, Aurore ; Reubens, Jan ; Rostin, Liis ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Wilding, Thomas A. ; Wilhelmsson, Dan ; Degraer, Steven ; Norkko, Joanna - \ 2020
ICES Journal of Marine Science 77 (2020)3. - ISSN 1054-3139 - p. 1092 - 1108.
benthos - environmental impact - knowlegde gaps - marine ecology - offshore wind farms - renewable energy
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.
Working Group on Marine Benthal Renewable Developments
Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Coolen, J.W.P. - \ 2019
Copenhagen : International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES Scientific Reports 6) - 95 p.
This report provides an overview of the state of affairs (1) with regards to the deployment of wet renewables and (2) marine energy storage systems; (3) how they affect abiotic and biotic components of the marine ecosystem and (4) developments and concepts on cumulative impact assessments related to marine renewable energy devices and (5) future perspectives. This report provides the scientific basis to address the OSPAR request for advice on the current state and knowledge of studies into the deployment and environmental impacts of the following wet renewable energies and marine energy storage (floating, coastal infrastructure), tidal stream (screws, kites), tidal flow (barrage, lagoon) and others. Advice should cover the status of wet renewable developments in the OSPAR region, future prospects, potential environmental prob-lems (sea bed habitat loss/disturbance, fish, marine mammals, birds, seascape/ public perception, and cumulative impacts), potential benefits, next steps and conclusions”. The request was directed towards the Working Group on Marine Benthal Energy Developments (WGMBRED) and the Working Group on Marine Renewable Energy (WGMRE). A pre-meeting chaired by Jan Vanaverbeke, Belgium (WKWET, 15–16 January 2019) at ICES Headquarters, was attended by 11 participants from 4 countries, including members of WGMBRED and WGMRE and additional experts. The group analysed the OSPAR request, agreed on a structure for the report, and certain experts volunteered to conduct a literature re-view and provide the necessary knowledge base for the report.WGMBRED met from 12–15 February 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The input from WKWET participants was compiled, quality checked and adapted where needed; when relevant expertise was represented in the group. WKWET experts, not present at WGMBRED, reviewed text, where needed, and a first version of this report was delivered to WGMRE.WGMRE met in Oostende (Belgium) from 26–28 February 2019. Participants reviewed the WKWET report following input from WGMBRED, quality checked, and adapted where neces-sary. Relevant experts contributed additional text and data to tables on MRE developments in ICES areas, and provided text on public perceptions and future prospects of MRE. This report presents an overview of the currently known “wet renewables” (all marine renewable energy devices, excluding offshore wind devices) and how their deployment will likely change in the future. It further provides an overview of the concepts and techniques of related to marine energy storage devices. Given the conceptual and experimental stage of marine energy storage devices, and the absence of data on how these devices affect the marine environment, the report is limited to a description of these marine energy storage devices. This report provides a receptor-based summary of how the wet renewables can affect the marine environment. Receptors are either abiotic (hydrodynamics, physical seabed and sediment transport) or biotic (benthos, fish, marine mammals, birds, sea turtles, otters and polar bears). To avoid repetition, effects on these receptors were grouped according to pressure-inducing components (static component of the device, dynamic component of the device, cables) of wet renewables or consequences of their presence. The report further discusses the developments on cumulative impacts assessments associated with wet renewables deployment in addition to many other human activities, and the need to move away from “data rich – information poor” monitoring of structural aspects of the marine ecosystem to hypothesis-driven functional research at the relevant spatial and temporal scales. This will require cross-border coordination in data collection, data storage and exchange and the development of a joint research agenda.
Report of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) : 6-9 March 2018, Galway, Ireland
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Boon, Arjen ; Brzana, Radoslaw ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dauvin, Jean-Claude ; Degraer, Steven ; Jackson, Angus ; Janas, Urszula ; Mesel, I.G. de; O'Beirn, Francis ; Pezy, Jean-Philippe ; Raoux, Aurore ; Sheehan, Emma ; Vanaverbeke, Jan - \ 2018
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES WGMBRED Report 2018/HAPISG:02) - 68 p.
Environmental benefits of leaving offshore infrastructure in the ocean
Fowler, Ashley M. ; Jørgensen, A.M. ; Svendsen, Jon C. ; Macreadie, Peter I. ; Jones, Daniel O.B. ; Boon, Arjen R. ; Booth, David J. ; Brabant, Robin ; Callahan, Emily ; Claisse, Jeremy T. ; Dahlgren, Thomas G. ; Degraer, Steven ; Dokken, Quenton R. ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Johns, David G. ; Leewis, Robert J. ; Lindeboom, Han J. ; Linden, Olof ; May, Roel ; Murk, Albertinka J. ; Ottersen, Geir ; Schroeder, Donna M. ; Shastri, Sunil M. ; Teilmann, Jonas ; Todd, Victoria ; Hoey, Gert Van; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Coolen, Joop W.P. - \ 2018
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16 (2018)10. - ISSN 1540-9295 - p. 571 - 578.
The removal of thousands of structures associated with oil and gas development from the world’s oceans is well underway, yet the environmental impacts of this decommissioning practice remain unknown. Similar impacts will be associated with the eventual removal of offshore wind turbines. We conducted a global survey of environmental experts to guide best decommissioning practices in the North Sea, a region with a substantial removal burden. In contrast to current regulations, 94.7% of experts (36 out of 38) agreed that a more flexible case-by- case approach to decommissioning could benefit the North Sea environment. Partial removal options were considered to deliver better environmental outcomes than complete removal for platforms, but both approaches were equally supported for wind turbines. Key considerations identified for
decommissioning were biodiversity enhancement, provision of reef habitat, and protection from bottom trawling, all of which are negatively affected by complete removal. We provide recommendations to guide the revision of offshore decommissioning policy, including a temporary suspension of obligatory removal.
Towards answering the "so what" question in marine renewables environmental impact assessment
Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Braeckman, Ulrike ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Mesel, Ilse De; Gregoire, Marilaure ; Kerckhof, Francis ; Lacroix, Geneviève ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Moens, Tom ; Soetaert, K. ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Hoey, Gert van - \ 2016
Geophysical Research Abstracts 18 (2016). - ISSN 1029-7006 - 1 p.
Tidal flat nematode responses to hypoxia and subsequent macrofauna-mediated alterations of sediment properties
Colen, C. van; Montserrat, F. ; Verbist, K. ; Vincx, M. ; Steyaert, M. ; Vanaverbeke, J. ; Herman, P.M.J. ; Degraer, S. ; Ysebaert, T. - \ 2009
Marine Ecology Progress Series 381 (2009). - ISSN 0171-8630 - p. 189 - 197.
marine nematodes - community structure - organic enrichment - meiofauna - colonization - ecology - habitat - recolonization - biodiversity - assemblages
To assess the role of macrofauna-mediated sediment changes on nematode community recovery, we examined the temporal development of macrobenthos, nematode communities and sediment properties following hypoxia in 16 m2 replicated plots over a 6 mo period. Hypoxia drastically changed nematode community composition (i.e. reduced diversity and abundances of all dominant nematodes, except Odontophora spp.), but complete mortality, as was the case for the macrobenthos, did not occur. Macrofauna diversity recovered slowly, but community composition approached that of control communities after several months. In contrast, nematode diversity recovered to control values within 1 mo but, subsequently, decreased again; hence, no clear convergence towards the control community composition was apparent. This diversity decline and lack of community recovery was mainly attributed to abundance overshoots of the epistrate feeding nematodes Chromadora spp., Daptonema spp. and Ptycholaimellus ponticus in the treatments, which dominated the treatment community after 2 mo. Nematode community reassembling was strongly related to the coupled macrobenthos-environmental temporal development. The dynamics of 2 sediment characteristics, which were both mediated by the colonizing macrobenthos, are presented as possible determinant factors for this relationship: (1) low nematode post-settlement resuspension resulting from stable sediments at early macrofauna recovery stages and (2) enhanced nematode reproduction and settlement success in a dense microphytobenthos mat in relation to the temporal variation in macrobenthos grazing pressure and bioturbation. In conclusion, the strong relationships between macrobenthos recovery, environmental development and nematode community development after hypoxia highlight the importance of macrobenthos¿sediment interactions in the recovery and structuring of nematode communities