Scottish Offshore Wind Sites on Wildlife Watch
Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and the University of Aberdeen (UoA) carried out a multi-disciplinary survey within the Moray Firth wind farm sites in June 2019.
MSS colleagues and UoA postgraduate students set sail on the Alba na Mara to characterise the distribution of the prey species (fish schools, zooplankton patches) across the Smith Bank in relation to data available on top predator distribution.
The areas targeted by this study include the fully constructed Beatrice offshore wind farm, the Moray East offshore wind farm which is under construction; and the Moray West offshore wind farm which is still to begin construction.
The data collected will complement the Beatrice post-construction digital aerial surveys for seabirds and UoA studies being conducted as part of the Moray Firth Marine Mammal Monitoring Programme (MMMP).
Data collected during this survey will support and be analysed as part of one of the visiting student’s Marine Collaboration Research Forum (MarCRF) PhD thesis, entitled: “Assessing responses of top predators to offshore windfarm development”.
MarCRF is a cross-disciplinary initiative developed between the UoA and MSS with the aim to facilitate evidence-based, relevant science that supports Marine Scotland policy.