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Lysekil, Sweden

Leonardsson K.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Blomqvist M.,Hafok AB | Magnusson M.,Marine Monitoring AB | Wikstrom A.,Marine Monitoring AB | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

A challenging aspect of benthic quality indices used for assessing the marine environment has been to compile reliable measures of the species' sensitivity to disturbances. Sensitivity values and their uncertainties can be calculated, but a problem to cope with is that the results may depend on the actual proportion of samples from disturbed and undisturbed environments. Here we calculated sensitivity values for each species along an artificial disturbance gradient created by bootstrapping varying numbers of samples from disturbed and undisturbed environments. The values were increasing, decreasing, or more or less constant along this gradient. The lowest value with the lowest uncertainty was adopted as the species sensitivity value.Analyses of the uncertainties indicated that the accuracy rather than the precision might be a concern. We suggest a method to exclude species for which the uncertainty is outside predefined limits as a precaution to reduce bias in the environmental status classification. © 2015 The Authors.

Leonardsson K.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Blomqvist M.,Hafok AB | Rosenberg R.,Marine Monitoring AB | Rosenberg R.,Gothenburg University
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2016

The Benthic Quality Index, BQI, is widely used for benthic quality assessment. Here, we investigated if spatial variation in the BQI can be reduced by accounting for the environmental factors instead of having different boundaries for different salinity regimes between status classes in the EU Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. For this purpose we tested salinity, sediment structure, and depth in a regression model to test their contribution to variations in BQI. The spatial variation in BQI was better explained by depth than by salinity or sediment structure. The proposed assessment method uses the residuals from the regression model between BQI and depth. With this method the variance in BQI between samples was reduced by 50% to 75% in the majority of situations. A method to establish the boundary between good and moderate status and how to derive EQR-values according to the WFD is presented. © 2015.

Hammar L.,Chalmers University of Technology | Andersson S.,Marine Monitoring AB | Eggertsen L.,University of Stockholm | Haglund J.,University of Stockholm | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Hydrokinetic turbines, targeting the kinetic energy of fast-flowing currents, are under development with some turbines already deployed at ocean sites around the world. It remains virtually unknown as to how these technologies affect fish, and rotor collisions have been postulated as a major concern. In this study the effects of a vertical axis hydrokinetic rotor with rotational speeds up to 70 rpm were tested on the swimming patterns of naturally occurring fish in a subtropical tidal channel. Fish movements were recorded with and without the rotor in place. Results showed that no fish collided with the rotor and only a few specimens passed through rotor blades. Overall, fish reduced their movements through the area when the rotor was present. This deterrent effect on fish increased with current speed. Fish that passed the rotor avoided the near-field, about 0.3 m from the rotor for benthic reef fish. Large predatory fish were particularly cautious of the rotor and never moved closer than 1.7 m in current speeds above 0.6 ms-1. The effects of the rotor differed among taxa and feeding guilds and it is suggested that fish boldness and body shape influenced responses. In conclusion, the tested hydrokinetic turbine rotor proved non-hazardous to fish during the investigated conditions. However, the results indicate that arrays comprising multiple turbines may restrict fish movements, particularly for large species, with possible effects on habitat connectivity if migration routes are exploited. Arrays of the investigated turbine type and comparable systems should therefore be designed with gaps of several metres width to allow large fish to pass through. In combination with further research the insights from this study can be used for guiding the design of hydrokinetic turbine arrays where needed, so preventing ecological impacts. © 2013 Hammar et al.

Hammar L.,Chalmers University of Technology | Wikstrom A.,Marine Monitoring AB | Molander S.,Chalmers University of Technology
Renewable Energy | Year: 2014

Offshore wind power is expanding with particular development plans in the Baltic and the North Sea. To reassure an environmentally acceptable development, regulatory authorities need to make informed decisions even when evidence and experience are scarce. In this study Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) has been applied on a wind farm project in Kattegat, proposed within a spawning ground for the Kattegat cod, a threatened population of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.). Six stressors with potential impacts on cod and related to wind farms were investigated. Three of them - extreme noise from pile driving, noise from vessels, and disturbances due to cable-trenching - are related to the construction phase, while lubricant spills and noise from turbines together with electric fields from cables are related to the operation phase. The ecological risk was derived from the combined likelihood and magnitude of potential adverse effects from stressors to the cod population using a weight-of-evidence (WOE) ranking procedure. Available evidence was evaluated based on its reliability, and contradictory arguments were balanced against each other using evidence maps. The option of performing hazardous construction events (e.g. pile-driving) outside biologically sensitive periods was incorporated in the assessment. It was shown that the construction of the wind farm poses a high risk to cod, as defined by the ranked and combined likelihoods and magnitudes of adverse effects. However by avoiding particular construction events during the cod recruitment period ecological risks can be significantly reduced. Specifically for this case, ecological risks are reduced from high to low by avoiding pile-driving from December through June, which confirms previous indications that pile-driving is the most ecologically hazardous activity of offshore wind power development. Additional risk reduction is achieved by avoiding cable trenching from January through May. The study thus illustrates the effectiveness of time-planning for risk reduction. Importantly, the study illustrates how combined ERA and WOE methods can be valuable for handling uncertainties of environmental impacts within offshore industrial development. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Stigebrandt A.,Gothenburg University | Liljebladh B.,Gothenburg University | de Brabandere L.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Forth M.,University of Southern Denmark | And 10 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2014

In a 2.5-year-long environmental engineering experiment in the By Fjord, surface water was pumped into the deepwater where the frequency of deepwater renewals increased by a factor of 10. During the experiment, the deepwater became long-term oxic, and nitrate became the dominating dissolved inorganic nitrogen component. The amount of phosphate in the water column decreased by a factor of 5 due to the increase in flushing and reduction in the leakage of phosphate from the sediments when the sediment surface became oxidized. Oxygenation of the sediments did not increase the leakage of toxic metals and organic pollutants. The bacterial community was the first to show changes after the oxygenation, with aerobic bacteria also thriving in the deepwater. The earlier azoic deepwater bottom sediments were colonized by animals. No structural difference between the phytoplankton communities in the By Fjord and the adjacent Havsten Fjord, with oxygenated deepwater, could be detected during the experiment. © 2014, The Author(s).

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