Skip to main content

Researchers tracking the movements of seals in the North Sea have discovered they like visiting offshore wind turbines.

They fitted a number of harbour - or common - seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) with GPS trackers. They have published their findings in Current Biology.  

Both species spend time at sea for a few days to a month with visits to land to "haul-out". What the researchers found is that both species tagged in both the UK and Netherlands visited recently constructed wind farms. Not only that, some individuals went in a straight line from one turbine tower to another and hung around each for a bit. Tracks show a perfect grid corresponding to the wind farm and, in one case, another structure. This strongly suggests that they are using the towers to hunt for fish. Some other seals followed the route of undersea pipelines.

Their hypothesis is that these man-made structures are providing artificial reefs. These provide an environment where crustaceans can thrive. Fish gather to feed on them and in turn these are prey for the seals. The researchers are uncertain whether the total number of fish are increasing or are being attracted to these sites while the total numbers remain constant. This will not become clearer until the reefs have had time to get established. In one case, the wind farm had only been installed for a year or two.

If the total number of fish is not increasing, design changes might have to be made to mitigate the concentrating effect. On the other hand if there are more fish, different designs would help provide more foraging place for top predators like seals.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site