Fish and sessile assemblages associated with wind-turbine constructions in the Baltic Sea
fish density, offshore, structures, turbines
Journal or Book Title
Marine and Freshwater Research
Offshore wind farms are being built at a high rate around the world to meet the demand for renewable energy. We studied fish and sessile communities on and around offshore wind-turbine foundations in the southern Baltic Sea, 7 years after construction, using visual census techniques to determine how fish, sessile-invertebrate and algal communities are affected by the introduction of such structures. Fish assemblages were dominated by two-spotted gobies (Gobiusculus flavescens) that were found in large shoals in close association with the vertical surface. At the seabed, close to the foundation, the black goby (Gobius niger) was recorded in large numbers. The most obvious difference in fish densities was found between wind-power foundations extending through the entire water column and the surrounding open waters. Fouling assemblages on the vertical foundation surfaces and at the seabed just below differed from those at the seabed further away by having higher coverage of blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and less algal growth. The results from the present study suggest that the introduction of offshore wind turbines in marine waters could have a positive effect on fish numbers and the presence of sessile invertebrates.