A study by researchers at Leiden University researchers in the Netherlands has revealed that offshore wind turbines are boosting sea soil animal numbers, such as barnacles, oysters, hydroids, and sea urchins. This is great news for ocean biodiversity and the underwater ecosystem.
As part of the study, several sets of data were gathered focusing on six wind farms in the North Sea. Samples from each farm had been gathered over an 11-year period, so there was plenty of data to work with. Using these, the researchers examined the effects of the wind farms on the soil. After some careful analysis, the researchers found that the foundations of wind turbines could host up to a hundred times more animals.
However, that's not all. The study also showed that the foundations also hosted more sea soil animals compared to the North Sea — impressive to say the least. This suggests that the foundations of these offshore wind farms are great for boosting sea soil animal numbers and increasing species richness.
‘It is great that, along with the contributions of offshore wind energy to renewable energy, there can also be co-benefits for marine biodiversity’, says co-author and environmental scientist Laura Scherer.