The Ecostructure project is a collaboration between five universities in Wales and Ireland, aiming to research and raise awareness of eco-engineering solutions to face the challenge of coastal adaption to climate change head on. The Ecostructure project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme (2014-2020).
As part of this project, an acoustic telemetry study is being undertaken to identify how species such as European lobsters, Brown crab, and Atlantic cod make use of an offshore windfarm in Liverpool Bay.
It is known that the tidal scouring at the base of wind turbines can provide habitat and protection for crustacean species and in turn increase their numbers, providing the potential to benefit local economies. Harry Thatcher from Aberystwyth University will investigate this further as part of a three-year study, running from June to October. Harry plans to study the movement ecology of European lobster and Brown crab around the scour region of three offshore turbines in Liverpool Bay.
Each turbine will have an array of six Innovasea acoustic receivers evenly distributed 100 m from the turbines. Within this array, Innovasea acoustic tags will be externally attached to a number of lobsters and crabs. These tags will transmit a unique ID every three minutes which will be detected, stored and timestamped by the receivers. When the receivers are recovered, Harry will be able to use this data to discern the movements of the lobster with a high degree of accuracy.
We hope that this work will provide a greater understanding of how these species make use of specific features within the windfarm and inform future offshore wind developments to ensure optimal habitat is provided to support biodiversity and industry.
To find out more about the Ecostructure Projects Acoustic Telemetry Study, you can visit their website here.
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