Understanding the relationship between offshore wind, marine predators and prey
The Predators and Prey Around Renewable Energy Developments (PrePARED) project is a 4-year research project (2022-2026), funded by Crown Estate Scotland and the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme. This project aims to, for the first time, concurrently study marine predators and their prey during offshore wind farm development.
Studying predator-prey dynamics and offshore wind development in Scotland
PrePARED focusses on two study areas on the east coast of Scotland, both of which are undergoing offshore wind farm development during the period of the project. Data collection and analysis will take place on marine mammals and their prey in the Moray Firth, and on seabirds and their prey in the Firth of Forth and Tay area. The project will develop methods to analyse these data, improve impact assessment tools, and consider how these results may be implemented into policy. As part of the project, transferability of the findings made in these key study sites to other regions in the UK will also be considered.
The project team
The project team, led by Marine Scotland, consists of a large consortium from academia, government, and industry. BioSS are key contributors within the project, alongside UKCEH, University of Aberdeen, University of Exeter, SMRU at the University of St Andrews, SMRU Consulting, Aarhus University, Natural England, and NatureScot. PrePARED will also rely on close collaboration with industry developers within these regions to obtain high-quality data during the project.
Aims of the project
The broad aims of the project are to address knowledge gaps in how offshore wind developments may affect both predators and prey species. Work at BioSS will largely focus on the analysis of seabird and prey data in the Forth and Tay, developing models to further understand the spatial distribution, movement and behaviour of seabirds, and quantifying how they respond to both changes in prey and the construction of wind farms within their environment.
Read more about the project launch by the Crown Estate here.