Seabird conservation and tidal stream and wave power generation: information needs for predicting and managing potential impacts

R. Langton, I. M. Davies, B. E. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Current development plans indicate that during the next decade there will be an increase in tidal stream and wave (TSW) power generation activity in Scottish Waters, together with the designation of additional offshore areas for seabird conservation. This paper summarises how TSW developments could affect seabirds, based on experience from other forms of disturbance, and explores the possible changes in behaviour and habitat that have the potential to increase a seabird's rate of energy acquisition (e.g. through enhancing prey abundance), or energy expenditure (e.g. through causing birds to commute further to find food, if they avoid foraging around developments placed in regular feeding areas). Changes to energy budgets could impact rates of reproduction and survival. Simulation modelling of seabird energetics and behaviour is one possible tool for predicting the direction and magnitude of population impacts caused by alterations to energy budgets, but is dependant on the availability and accuracy of necessary parameters. The later sections of the paper review the information needed for such models and shows that although some data are available regarding rates of energy expenditure during specific activities, more information is needed on seabird foraging rates. The paper also highlights how the susceptibility of a species to be impacted by future TSW development is likely to be related to their method of foraging, flight behaviour and ability to buffer against environmental fluctuations. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-630
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Policy
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • marine renewable energy
  • marine SPA
  • seabirds
  • conservation
  • Scotland
  • energetics
  • gannets morus-bassanus
  • shags phalacrocorax-aristotelis
  • kittiwakes rissa-tridactyla
  • guillemots uria-aalge
  • marine wind farms
  • renewable energy
  • North-sea
  • common murres
  • foraging strategies
  • prey abundance


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