Scientific echosounders in offshore wind farm monitoring

The global shift to renewable energy is well underway, including the large-scale deployment of offshore wind farms, with more than 3,500 turbines operating along the European coast.

Many of the environmental effects of offshore wind are still uncertain, largely due to the speed at which the industry is developing and the complexity of ocean ecosystems.

An effective monitoring strategy provides information and answers to these questions:

Hydroacoustic reference studies

Baseline surveys are a common and practical use for scientific fishfinders, important for documenting the biological community prior to anthropogenic development, such as renewable energy projects.

In the case of fish monitoring at the site of a proposed offshore wind farm with the DT-X Extreme sonar system, initial surveys are conducted to collect baseline information on existing fish stocks. Pre-installation surveys catalog the current abundance and distribution of fish. Physical sampling with nets then provides information on species composition that is subsequently correlated with hydroacoustic data. At a later date, these results are compared to data collected after installation to assess the impact of the wind farm on local fish populations.

Fixed location monitoring on wind turbine platforms

On existing wind turbine platforms, scientific echosounder systems are mounted in a fixed location for long-term studies to assess behavioral effects on marine life over time.

Data from these echosounders are also used to demonstrate the effects of fish aggregation and to observe daily and seasonal behavioral patterns of marine life.

Transducers are oriented vertically, horizontally or in combination to maximize sampling where marine life is most likely to be found.

Mobile surveys for habitat assessment

Scientific echosounders are useful for mapping and estimating important seagrass habitat areas. The goal is to delineate diverse substrates such as coral, silty sediments or rocky reefs.

This data is then used to mitigate potential marine habitat loss in order to identify and preserve vital and irreplaceable habitat areas.

In addition to scientific echosounders, BioSonics offers specialized software to process the sounder data and create color bathymetric maps that highlight important habitat features.

Robust and portable scientific echosounders

Offshore wind farms are projects designed to last over time and place, increasing the need for effective monitoring tools to cope with the growing development of projects.

Designed to assess fisheries resources and aquatic habitats, scientific echosounders are installed at fixed stations or deployed from (small or large) vessels for spot measurements or mobile surveys in the most challenging ocean conditions.

Efficient and versatile, BioSonics scientific echosounders are used to monitor renewable energy projects. The BioSonics DT-X Extreme is an ideal sonar for accurately measuring the size, abundance and location of marine organisms in the water column.

Each system is calibrated for scientifically defensible results and built to last in extreme conditions, regardless of the application: fish or marine life monitoring, seagrass quantification, bathymetric mapping or aquatic habitat assessment.

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