January 13, 2023
Journal Article

Minimizing impacts on ocean ecosystems


Abstract: Marine energy is poised to become an important renewable energy contributor for the U.S., but widespread deployment of the technology hinges on its benefits outweighing the potential ecological impacts. One stressor marine energy installations introduce is light, which is known to cause varying responses among wildlife and has not yet been addressed as an environmental concern. This review discusses requirements and regulations for similar structures and how lighting design choices can be made to meet these requirements while minimizing environmental consequences. Known responses of wildlife to light are introduced in addition to how the responses of individuals may lead to ecosystem-level changes. By following basic guidance provided herein, such as minimizing light levels and using lights with high directionality, the impact of light associated with marine energy installations can be reduced. Continued research on animal responses to light alongside the development of new spectral characterization capabilities can further inform lighting guidelines for deploying future open ocean marine energy devices. Keywords: marine energy, wave energy converters, light pollution, anthropogenic lighting

Published: January 13, 2023


Reilly C.E., J. Larson, A.M. Amerson, G. Staines, J. Haxel, and M. Pattison. 2022. Minimizing impacts on ocean ecosystems. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10, no. 3:Art. No. 354. PNNL-SA-170246. doi:10.3390/jmse10030354

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