Impact of offshore wind farms on the soft-sediment macrobenthos

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
By 2020 Belgium should acquire 13% of its energy from renewable resources. One option to reach this deadline has been the construction of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Three offshore wind farms are already operational in the Belgian part of the North Sea and four more concession areas are granted for construction. A monitoring programme was set up to determine the ecological effects of this anthropogenic disruption on the soft-sediment macrobenthos (organisms living in the sediment and larger than 1mm) applying a BACI (Before After Control Impact) strategy. In October 2017, a monitoring campaign will be organised to sample the soft-sediment macrobenthos around the offshore wind farms and selected reference stations. The student involved has the opportunity to join the sampling campaign (one week) and will analyse the samples during the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018. All species will be identified until species level and possible changes in the environment will be evaluated using biotic (biomass, abundance, diversity) and abiotic variables (sediment grain size, organic material).
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Tom Moens ( Ulrike Braeckman (
Reference Number: RP-48901