Recent Published Articles

Ecological impacts of the expansion of offshore wind farms on trophic level species of marine food chain

Yuanxun Zhang , Lijing Wang , Bangguo Wang , Wenxi Cen , Rui Xu , Yuwei Huang , Xin Zhang , Yinghui Han


Received December 15, 2022,Revised , Accepted May 06, 2023, Available online May 18, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 226-244

The global demand for renewable energy has resulted in a rapid expansion of offshore wind farms (OWFs) and increased attention to the ecological impacts of OWFs on the marine ecosystem. Previous reviews mainly focused on the OWFs’ impacts on individual species like birds, bats, or mammals. This review collected numerous field-measured data and simulated results to summarize the ecological impacts on phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, fishes, and mammals from each trophic level and also analyze their interactions in the marine food chain. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are positively or adversely affected by the ‘wave effect’, ‘shading effect’, oxygen depletion and predation pressure, leading to a ± 10% fluctuation of primary production. Although zoobenthos are threatened transiently by habitat destruction with a reduction of around 60% in biomass in the construction stage, their abundance exhibited an over 90% increase, dominated by sessile species, due to the ‘reef effect’ in the operation stage. Marine fishes and mammals are to endure the interferences of noise and electromagnetic, but they are also aggregated around OWFs by the ‘reef effect’ and ‘reserve effect’. Furthermore, the complexity of marine ecosystem would increase with a promotion of the total system biomass by 40% through trophic cascade effects strengthen and resource partitioning alternation triggered by the proliferation of filter-feeders. The suitable site selection, long-term monitoring, and life-cycle-assessment of ecological impacts of OWFs that are lacking in current literature have been described in this review, as well as the carbon emission and deposition.

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