Navigation Links
Seals forage at offshore wind farms

By using sophisticated GPS tracking to monitor seals' every movement, researchers have shown for the first time that some individuals are repeatedly drawn to offshore wind farms and pipelines. Those man-made structures probably serve as artificial reefs and attractive hunting grounds, according to a study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 21.

"I was shocked when I first saw the stunning grid pattern of a seal track around Sheringham Shoal," an offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom, says Deborah Russell of the University of St Andrews. "You could see that the individual appeared to travel in straight lines between turbines, as if he was checking them out for potential prey and then stopping to forage at certain ones."

Russell and her colleagues tagged harbor and gray seals on the British and Dutch coasts of the North Sea. Their data showed 11 harbor seals within two active wind farms, Alpha Ventus in Germany and Sheringham Shoal in the southeast UK. At both sites, some individual seals regularly entered the wind farms and, in some cases, showed these striking grid-like movement patterns as they appeared to forage at individual turbines.

The researchers also observed both gray and harbor seals associating with subsea pipelines. Two seals in the Netherlands encountered a section of pipeline and followed it on multiple trips for up to 10 days at a time.

It's not yet clear what the implications for seals and their prey will ultimately be as the number of active wind farms continues to grow, the researchers say.

"Only a small proportion of our study seals utilized wind farms or pipelines," Russell says. "At present these structures cover a small proportion of the extent of the at-sea distribution of seals. As wind farms become more extensive, many more seals will likely be affected."

The researchers now hope to continue their research to understand the population consequences of the massive planned developments. For instance, no one knows yet whether wind farms increase the total amount of prey available to seals or simply concentrate prey in a new and man-made location, making the prey particularly vulnerable to predation. The researchers say it will be imperative to resolve this uncertainty so that anthropogenic structures can be designed and managed to reduce adverse and increase any positive effects of these structures.


Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
Cell Press

Related biology news :

1. New study shows how seals sleep with only half their brain at a time
2. Seals gamble with their pups futures
3. Greenlands viking settlers gorged on seals
4. Southern elephant seals likely detect prey bioluminescence for foraging
5. Gray seals consume as much fish as the fishing industry catches
6. Changes in forage fish abundance alter Atlantic cod distribution, affect fishery success
7. Clemson researchers: Different forage affects beef cattle weight, taste
8. New menhaden study will help identify balance between fishing and preserving Bay forage fish
9. Study provides first-time analysis of 3 distinct contributions of forage fish worldwide
10. Impaired recovery of Atlantic cod -- forage fish or other factors?
11. Geosphere covers Mexico, the Colorado Plateau, Russia, and offshore New Jersey
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Seals forage at offshore wind farms
(Date:10/6/2015)... 2015 Track Group, Inc. (OTCQX: TRCK), a ... signed a contract with the Virginia Department of Corrections ... of sentences under the Department,s oversight. Derek ... contract with the Virginia DOC will expand our footprint ... our position as a trusted leader in offender electronic ...
(Date:10/2/2015)... 02 2015 ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report to ... announced the addition of the "Enforcing the ... --> Research and Markets ( ... "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" report to ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... 2015  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the ... in favor of Crossmatch ™, affirming the International ... Suprema and its U.S. partner Mentalix violated Section 337 ... that declares it unlawful to engage in "unfair practices" ... Crossmatch,s patents, the 5,900,993 patent and the 7,203,344 patent. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... The ... school age children in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The ... national economy, and the program aims to increase the number of students who ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... South Carolina (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... to announce the release of the CSM-C 600 compact clean steam generator . ... saturated steam that meets the requirements of HTM2031, HTM2010, and EN285 standards. The ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015  Rebiotix Inc. today ... has designated its lead Microbiota Restoration Therapy (MRT) ... of recurrent Clostridium difficile (C diff) ... that causes 29,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. ... company that was founded to revolutionize the treatment ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing and commercializing novel treatments ... departure of Dennis Turpin , the Company,s former ... to close its Quebec City ... President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company commented, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: