The effect of offshore wind farms on the variation of the phytoplankton population

Kordan M. B., Yakan Dündar S. D.

Regional Studies in Marine Science, vol.69, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 69
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.rsma.2023.103358
  • Journal Name: Regional Studies in Marine Science
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS
  • Keywords: Eutrophication, North Sea, Offshore wind farm, Phytoplankton, Wind energy
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Ocean and coastal areas have the opportunity to harness renewable energy with a rapidly growing rate of investment. Among the categories of marine energy, offshore wind energy produces an enormous amount of electricity for over 15 countries. The devices used for harvesting renewable energy can directly or indirectly affect habitat change, climate change, material-energy cycling, and the development of new communities. Studying their impacts can help fill the knowledge gap related to topics such as global carbon management and the reduction of ecological risks. This study aims to investigate changes in phytoplankton population after offshore wind farm (OWF) construction events at intervals of 2, 4, 7, 11, 18, 30, 50, and 80 days. The wind farms selected for this study are located in the North Sea, which is the most active area for OWF activity. The necessary information for this study was gathered from the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and the 4 C Offshore database. Python package in Jupyter Notebook and SPSS (version 25) were used to identify significant changes with a 95% confidence interval, along with their effect size. The results of the study are reported in four sets based on the eutrophication status of the studied OWFs. The events that have a diminishing effect on the phytoplankton population include foundation installation, array cable installation, and fully commissioning. Turbine installation was the only event where primary producers experienced growth afterward. The occurrence and duration of phytoplankton population changes during different eutrophication zones vary. The findings of this study can be beneficial for governments and various organizations when making decisions about the fishing industry, coastal management, ecosystem-based management, and ecological studies.