Large-scale studies on benthos in the German Bight: combining data from science and environmental impact assessment


Contact
Jennifer.Dannheim [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

In Germany, offshore wind farm projects are accompanied by obligatory Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). The mandatory monitoring standard “Investigation of the Impacts of Offshore Wind Turbines on the Marine Environment” (StUK3, BSH 2007) prescribes extensive investigations of soft-bottom benthos and benthic fouling assemblages on the wind turbine foundations. The data collected in the implementation of EIAs and scientific projects in the last five years were consolidated, harmonized and subjected to quality control before being entered into a database. To date, the database contains information on marine benthos with > 250,000 taxonomic entries relating to > 9,000 stations. This unique database serves as the basis for large-scale benthic ecosystem analysis. Numerous ecosystem goods and services, such as marine biodiversity, long-term carbon storage and natural resources (e.g. for fish, birds, mammals and finally humans), are intimately linked to the benthic system. Maintenance of the benthic system at a healthy ecological status is thus of particular interest. At the scale of the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), analyses are performed to identify benthic spatial patterns, to revise benthic associations, as required, and to determine the main controlling factors for species distribution or assemblages. Current efforts are being made to quantitatively model benthic species distributions in the German EEZ on a transnational scale. Finally, functionally sensible areas and important geographic sites that are of public concern regarding ecosystem services and goods are to be identified. This data will be used to provide evaluation criteria for identifying sensible areas in the context of licensing procedures of offshore wind farms and marine spatial planning. Furthermore, we strive to estimate species or group specific “natural corridors of variation” to discriminate anthropogenic effects from natural background variability in the future. Study outcomes (e.g. in terms of maps) will be made public via the Internet in order to provide stakeholders, e.g. authorities and scientific institutions, with scientific advice.



Item Type
Conference (Talk)
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Primary Division
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
StUKplus conference - five years of ecological research at alpha ventus - challenges, results and perspectives, 30 Oct 2013 - 31 Oct 2013, Berlin, Germany.
Eprint ID
34314
Cite as
Dannheim, J. , Holstein, J. , Gusky, M. and Gutow, L. (2013): Large-scale studies on benthos in the German Bight: combining data from science and environmental impact assessment , StUKplus conference - five years of ecological research at alpha ventus - challenges, results and perspectives, Berlin, Germany, 30 October 2013 - 31 October 2013 .


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