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Determination of Impact of the Construction Phase of the Wind Farms "Butendiek" and "Amrumbank West" in SCI "Sylter Außenriff" on Harbor Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)

Projectdata

Project leader: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientific work: Dr. Marianne Rasmussen
Project term: June 2014 through August 2015
Sponsoring: Federal Office for Nature Conservation

 Project Description

Over the last decade the first large offshore wind farms have been built in Europe, which has led to harbor porpoises being displaced, especially during the driving phase of the foundations, and being subjected to further disturbances during wind farm construction. A short-term rise in respiratory rates, startle responses, interruption of natural behaviors (hunting, communication, orientation), etc. have been considered initial documentable indicators of behavioral changes, as a result of these disturbances. The "Butendiek" wind farm, under construction as of 2014, is located in the area "Sylter Außenriff," and is protected under Natura 2000. In addition, the Amrumbank West" wind farm, also under construction, borders directly on the protected area. Harbor porpoises are protected in Natura 2000 protected areas throughout Europe and may not be subjected to significant disturbances. This gives rise to a multitude of questions regarding the driving of foundations for wind turbines in a protected area.

This project aims to quantify the amount of harbor porpoises demonstrating possible flight reactions and to document any disturbances other than displacement. Sound levels penetrating the protected areas will also be measured.

Concurrent acquisition of environmental parameters and acoustic recordings of harbor porpoise activities using echolocation click detectors and of background noise using noise loggers will be conducted to answer the research questions. During the analysis, driving periods and sound levels recorded by noise loggers will be compared. To further classify the influence of driving activities, environmental parameters such as salinity, chlorophyll and temperature will also be modelled. Data collected from the earlier projects "Synergetic Collection of Acoustic Registrations of Harbor Porpoises and Noise Influences" and "Effects of Noise and Acoustic Registrations of Harbor Porpoises" in the research area "Sylter Außenriff" will serve as basis for comparison of the construction phase data.

 

Offshore-Windpark "Butendiek" in construction phase. Foto ITAW

Contact person

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum

 

Dr. Marianne Rasmussen

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Anschrift
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
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