Wildlife and Marine Wind Energy Workshop

In a two-day closed session in early November, BRI brought together more than 35 leading researchers in the field of wildlife and wind energy development to identify areas of scientific consensus on this issue and to provide applied recommendations. Their efforts will culminate in a forum article to be submitted to the journal BioScience.

Wing Goodale
Photo Credit: Emma Angus
“There are many complexities regarding wind power development, and many different ecosystems and species that will be potentially impacted: bats, sea birds, songbirds, whales, fish, sea turtles. It’s important to bring together scientists who are experts in these different areas to hear their perspectives. The collaborative approach will help identify what we do know as well as provide a process for how we learn about the things we don’t know.”
Wing Goodale
BRI's Deputy Director


Pat Jodice, Scott Kraus, Mark Swingle & Pat Halpin
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

During the workshop breakout sessions, researchers divided into groups according to taxonomic specialty. Above: the marine mammal and sea turtle breakout group included (from left to right): Pat Jodice from Clemson University; Scott Kraus from the New England Aquarium; Mark Swingle from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center; and Pat Halpin from Duke University. Below: the fish group included Heidi Souder of National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Brian Kinlan (foreground) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Christopher Glass of the University of New Hampshire.

Heidi Souder, Brian Kinlan & Christopher Glass
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

Wing Goodale, John Fitzgerald & Kate Williams
Photo Credit: Emma Angus
John Fitzgerald of the Society for Conservation Biology (left center) served as a policy facilitator for the workshop, to provide a policy-relevant context for scientific discussions.

The steering committee for the Wildlife Science and Marine Wind Energy Initiative is comprised of leading research biologists with expertise in marine wind energy development, birds, marine mammals, bats, and fish. Steering committee members include:

Kate Williams
Photo Credit:
Emma Angus
“Our steering committee provided excellent guidance on manuscript goals. Workshop attendees were excited about the manuscript effort and worked together for productive, science-based discussions about a topic that tends to be fairly controversial, even within the scientific community.”
Kate Williams, Director
BRI's Wildlife and Renewable Energy Program

For a full list of workshop attendees, click here.

For a current working bibliography
of relevant scientific literature, click here.

Special Feature: BRI’s science journalist interns,
Ellen Agnew and Emma Angus,
contributed during the weeks preceding the
Spotlight event and offer their perspectives...

Wildlife Science and Marine Wind Energy Initiative
The goal of this Initiative is to inform decision makers and the public about areas of scientific consensus regarding the effects of marine wind power development on wildlife.

Offshore Wind Farm

“We see renewable energy as good news in carbon reduction, but there are other factors we need to consider...We have a responsibility to ensure that [wind farm] developments take place with minimum damage to these species.”
Rowena Langston, Ph.D.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, U.K.

Offshore Wind Farm
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

Visiting European scientists, Dr. Rowena Langston (pictured above center) from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Dr. Tony Fox from Aarhus University in Denmark shared insights gained from more than 20 years experience with marine wind power development.

“Maine is uniquely positioned to harness deepwater offshore energy, and workshops like these are precisely why our state leads the way in diversifying our nation’s energy resources. Research in this area is absolutely vital so that we can take advantage of wind energy while at the same time ensuring Maine’s iconic marine resources and wildlife continue to thrive.”
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe

Dr. Iain Stenhouse discussing a point with Wing Goodale
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

“When it comes to wind farms on the East Coast, we do have a fresh slate. We’re lucky that we have the European experience to grow from...they’ve had turbines in the water for 20 years and they’ve been examining the issues that we’re talking about here. The conditions might not be exactly the same, but there are lessons we can learn from them.”
Iain Stenhouse, Ph.D., Director
BRI's Marine Bird Program


Workshop Attendees
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

BRI’s efforts brought together a group of 37 scientists from academic and research institutions, non-profit organizations, as well as federal and state agencies to share their expertise. Above (foreground): Caleb Spiegel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Scott Kraus from New England Aquarium; below (from left to right): Iain Stenhouse from BRI; Kristopher Winiarski from the University of Rhode Island (URI); Brian Kinlan from NOAA; Peter Paton from URI; Susi von Oettingen from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and David Yates from BRI.

Workshop Attendees
Photo Credit: Emma Angus

Next Steps
Over the next several months, Kate Williams and colleagues at BRI will pull together the comments, draft text, and other input from workshop attendees into a draft manuscript, which will be sent out for feedback from both coauthors and advisory group members. The manuscript will then be submitted as a forum article to the journal BioScience, where it will undergo peer review. If accepted, the manuscript will be published in 2012 or 2013. At that time, BRI will lead a collaborative effort to publicize the article’s contents, including an outreach effort with congressional staffers, development groups, federal agencies, and others in Washington, D.C.

We would like to acknowledge the generous
funding support from:
Horizon FoundationOak Foundation
Davis Conservation Foundation