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Computational Modelling of Interactions of Marine Mammals and Tidal Stream Turbines
Swansea University Author: Thomas Lake
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Marine renewable energy is a topic of growing interest in academic and commercial contexts, with a number of different devices and technologies under development and in various stages of consenting and deployment. One of the many challenges faced by this emerging industry lies in the understanding o...
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Marine renewable energy is a topic of growing interest in academic and commercial contexts, with a number of different devices and technologies under development and in various stages of consenting and deployment. One of the many challenges faced by this emerging industry lies in the understanding of the environment in which these devices are deployed in, both in terms of the physical environment and the local ecology.This work presents the research, development and testing of a new Individual Based Model (IBM) framework developed to mimic the habitat usage of marine mammals in energetic tidal sites. In particular, the model has been developed with the aim of investigating the potential impacts of tidal stream turbines on harbour porpoise in coastal areas.The model makes use of existing tidal/coastal models to define a simulation environment within which boids (objects representing the animals being simulated) can be released and their behaviour and motion tracked. This data has been taken from results of simulations carried out using the TELEMAC shallow water model, with the addition of data representing food availability and additional noise levels. Simulations using this IBM have then been carried out to examine the variation in statistical measures of the simulated population based on different sample sizes, and to examine the effect of different model parameters on simulation results.A case study is presented based on the area around Ramsey Sound, an area where a tidal stream turbine has recently been deployed. The results presented here show a promising initial comparison of simulation outputs against observational data from the site. A final set of results show small but detectable changes in habitat use by the simulated porpoise resulting from the addition of a noise source representing a generic tidal stream device.
IBM, Marine Energy, Tidal Stream, Simulation, Modelling
College of Engineering