October 14, 2023
Journal Article

Marine energy converters: Potential acoustic effects on fishes and aquatic invertebrates


The potential effects of underwater anthropogenic sound and substrate vibration from offshore renewable energy development on the behavior, fitness, and health of aquatic animals is a continuing concern with increased deployments and installation of these devices. Initial focus of related studies concerned offshore wind (OSW). However, over the past decade, marine energy (ME) devices, such as a tidal turbines and wave energy converters, have begun to emerge as additional, scalable renewable energy sources. Because marine energy converters (MECs) are not as well-known as other anthropogenic sources of potential disturbance, we introduce their general function and what is known about the sounds and substrate vibrations they produce. While most previous study focused on MECs and marine mammals, this paper considers the potential of MECs to cause acoustic disturbances affecting nearshore and tidal fishes and invertebrates. In particular, we focus on particle motion and substrate vibration from MECs, because these effects are the most likely to be detected by these animals. Finally, we provide an analysis of major data gaps in understanding the acoustics of MECs and their potential impacts on fishes and aquatic invertebrates, and recommendations for research needed over the next several years to improve understanding of these potential impacts.

Published: October 14, 2023


Popper A.N., J. Haxel, G.J. Staines, S. Guan, S. Nedelec, L. Roberts, and Z. Deng. 2023. Marine energy converters: Potential acoustic effects on fishes and aquatic invertebrates. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 154, no. 1:518–532. PNNL-SA-182149. doi:10.1121/10.0020150