The Influence of Man-made Structures on the North Sea ...
The Influence of Man-made Structures on the North Sea: Synthesis and assessment of Phase 1 ISAB Independent Scientific Advisory Board INSITE Science Day, London, 31 October 2017 INSITE Background Oil & Gas UK Decommissioning Baseline Study JIP (2011-2012): Serious lack of data to describe the influence of man-made structures (MMS) on the North Sea ecosystem 2013: Oil & Gas UK facilitated INSITE, a JIP to improve knowledge on the influence of MMS on the North Sea ecology Provide science to understand the effects of MMS Better inform the decommissioning decision process Man-made structures (MMS) Fixed steel and concrete oil and gas installations, pipelines and renewable energy structures (e.g. windfarms). Shipwrecks Shipping and fishing activity is only included if it has a direct impact on the influence of MMS. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 2 INSITE specific objectives
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 1: EFFECTS Investigate the magnitude of the effects of man-made structures compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem, considered on different time and space scales. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE 2: CONNECTIVITY To what extent, if any, do the man-made structures in the North Sea represent a large inter-connected hard substrate system? 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 3 INSITE Phase 1 (2014-2017) the Foundation Phase Studies to focus on identification, collection, synthesis, and analysis of available data to a lesser extent generation of new data, model development, implementation, and testing, model runs with available data to achieve INSITE objectives 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 4 INSITE Phase 1 projects Primary Institution Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre
for Polar and Marine Research 31.10.2017 (1/2) Countries Title of Research Germany, UNDerstanding the INfluence of man-made structures on the Belgium, UK, Ecosystem functions of the North Sea (UNDINE) Netherlands CEFAS Laboratory UK Assessing the Ecological Connectivity between man-made structures in the North Sea (EcoConnect) CEFAS Laboratory UK Coupled Spatial Modelling (COSM) trophic effects due to structures and habitat change in the North Sea IMARES Netherlands
Reef effects of structures in the North Sea: Islands or connections? (RECON) Royal Netherlands Institute for Marine Research (NIOZ) Netherlands Measuring the shadow effect of artificial structures in the North Norway Sea on the surrounding soft bottom community (Shadow) Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 5 INSITE Phase 1 projects Primary Institution 31.10.2017 (2/2) Country Title of Research University of Edinburgh UK Appraisal of network connectivity between North Sea subsea oil and gas platforms (ANChor) Sea Mammal Research
Unit (SMRU), University of St Andrews UK Man-made structures and Apex Predators: Spatial interactions and overlap (MAPS). Sir Alistair Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) UK Influence of Man-Made Structures in the ecosystem: Is there a planktonic signal? (Signal) University of Edinburgh UK INSITE Data Initiative Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 6 Mapping the Programme to the INSITE Objectives Objective 1: EFFECTS Objective 2: CONNECTIVITY RECON COSM
EcoConnect MAPS Signal ANChor Shadow UNDINE 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 7 Conclusions Objective 1: The magnitude of the effects of MMS compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem 1/5 Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, MAPS, RECON, Shadow, Signal, UNDINE Fact: Installation of MMS over the last 40-50 years have changed the geographical distribution of hard bottom ecological communities in the NS, and altered the overall NS biodiversity. Data on species composition have been compiled from about 80 UK, Dutch, and Danish O&G and wind farm installations.
Detailed description of epigrowth communites have only been presented from MMS in the southern NS. Community structure identifies 3 geographical clusters of installations a southern shallow, a northern shallow, and a northern deep and 3 vertical depth zones Community structures on wind farms differ from that on O&G installations and wrecks. Age of structure also correlate with epigrowth diversity 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 8 Conclusions Objective 1: The magnitude of the effects of MMS compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem 2/5 Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, MAPS, RECON, Shadow, Signal, UNDINE Presence of MMS affects the surrounding soft bottom community
Models and field data suggest that MMS may change sediment chemical properties, sediment production, organic turnover, and species abundance MMS effects on surrounding species composition, taxonomic diversity, and biological trait structure are suggested, but may go either way The effects are subtle, but mostly regarded as negative Generally detected inside a 1 km perimeter (corresponding to impact areas from present operational O&G discharges) 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 9 Conclusions Objective 1: The magnitude of the effects of MMS compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem 3/5 Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, MAPS, RECON, Shadow, Signal, UNDINE Wrecks and wind turbines seem more influential on the surrounding benthos
than O&G installations. Effects on the surrounding benthos only studied at installations in the southern region of the North Sea. The validity of extrapolation to the greater North Sea is yet not known Validation of model results by observations has not been sufficient 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 10 Conclusions Objective 1: The magnitude of the effects of MMS compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem 4/5 Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, MAPS, RECON, Shadow, Signal, UNDINE Long term and seasonal North Sea plankton dynamics correlate with surface temperature and wind. Effects of MMS on the plankton are likely minor compared to other pressures
Even in regions with many installations, MMS appear to have only marginal or no influence on holo- and meroplankton. The present plankton sampling regime is not fit for assessing local effects of MMS Ships of opportunity tend to avoid sites with surface installations 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 11 Conclusions Objective 1: The magnitude of the effects of MMS compared to the spatial and temporal variability of the North Sea ecosystem 5/5 Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, MAPS, RECON, Shadow, Signal, UNDINE Connectivity modelling clearly indicates that pelagic larvae from benthic invertebrates on MMS may influence distant natural habitats Settling larvae may support and possibly sustain existing populations (e.g. Lophelia)
They may also introduce new and unwanted species. This may already have modified community structure in e.g. Marine Protected Areas or could do so in the future. Distribution and behaviour of fish, birds, and mammals are regulated by environmental factors, only weak association with MMS. Negative for grey seal and fulmars, positive for harbour porpoise 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 12 Conclusions Objective 2: To what extent, if any, do the man-made structures in the North Sea represent a large inter-connected hard substrate system? 1/3 Projects contributing: ANChor, EcoConnect, RECON, UNDINE Network analysis confirms two well-connected networks of larval exchange for selected hard bottom species across the greater North Sea: One in the south region One in the north, central region The northern is subdivided into clusters of MMS.
Certain MMS may act as bridges between separated networks. Regions and clusters of MMS have been identified as Suppliers/sources, Conductors, and Receivers of organisms. Reasonably stabile spatial distribution of these functions, but still variable between species and years. Source MMS generally along the central axis of the NS, Receivers more coastal No ground-truthing whether these connectivity roles or functions are real. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 13 Conclusions Objective 2: To what extent, if any, do the man-made structures in the North Sea represent a large inter-connected hard substrate system? 2/3 Projects contributing: ANChor, EcoConnect, RECON, UNDINE For certain species and oceanographic conditions a global NS network of hard bottom substrates is indicated
There are likely interconnections between open ocean networks and coastal biotopes (MMS and natural) Connectivity pattern is species specific and strongly dependent on reproductive traits Spawning season, duration of larval pelagic life Networks vary between years as function of oceanographic conditions 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 14 Conclusions Objective 2: To what extent, if any, do the man-made structures in the North Sea represent a large inter-connected hard substrate system? 3/3 Projects contributing: ANChor, EcoConnect, RECON, UNDINE Interconnection studied by genetic fingerprinting Mytilus edulis Long larval stage Larval transport contributed to initial colonization of MMS. Present day larval exchange is low. No support for ongoing connectivity.
Jassa herdmani No pelagic larval stage Genetic pattern show isolated populations on most sampled MMS Hypothesis is that Jassa colonized the MMS and then developed genetically distinct populations No attempt to explain why larval exchange occurred in the past and not now. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 15 Is the MMS impact on the NS ecosystem sensitive to decommissioning options? (from model predictions) Projects contributing: ANChor, COSM, EcoConnect An important driver for industry engagement in INSITE is to improve the knowledge base that can inform decommissioning strategy Scenarios that remove more oil and gas structures have a larger negative impact on the network. (as expected). Generic derogation has little impact, probably due to the small changes in size of the hard substrate areas
Some clusters and sites of MMS are identified as more important than others in keeping the networks connected Bespoke derogation based on the network role of an installation should be considered to maximise ecological benefit 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 16 Overall assessment of Phase 1 1/3 A major step has been made to compile available data on physical features of MMS, their associated fauna and flora, and biological characteristics of the surrounding benthos. Still a challenge to make existing environmental data available to the projects Another major step has been to identify, adopt, implement, test, and run a range of dispersion and ecosystem numerical models, separately or in concert to achieve the INSITE objectives
Studies of the available data have improved our knowledge of the geographical and depth distribution of offshore hard bottom biodiversity in the North Sea. INSITE has provided model and field evidence that the physical presence of MMS and their epigrowth may influence the surrounding benthos, but only locally. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 17 Overall assessment of Phase 1 2/3 INSITE has provided the first scaling of ecological influence of MMS on plankton communities and top predators. The influence is marginal relative to natural factors. In spite of different modelling approaches INSITE indicates that several common species form interconnected networks through larval dispersion The networks are dependent on species specific reproductive traits as well as oceanographic conditions
INSITE has demonstrated the value of population genetic fingerprinting to support species specific connectivity modelling. The connectivity and network analysis modelling tools developed within INSITE are potentially useful to support decommissioning strategy. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 18 Overall assessment of Phase 1 3/3 The identified connectivity patterns and their regulation factors are reasonably in common for all projects, but there are inconsistencies Different biological trait values used for the same species Opposite dispersal directions for Lophelia in the northern NS Ground-truthing of model results has been done in some instances, but should be encouraged. Validation is hampered by insufficient field data.
Phase 1 research is geographically unbalanced. Several projects have only dealt with the southern part of the North Sea. Validity of extrapolation to the greater North Sea has not been assessed Only two projects cover the whole North Sea (including the Norwegian sector) The scaling aspect of the project results might have been discussed more thoroughly Short-term, long-term, local, regional and NS global influences of MMS. Relevant to both INSITE objectives. 31.10.2017 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 19 Phase 2 Independent Scientific Advisory Board ISAB 31.10.2017
20 INSITE Phase 2 - Scope Data Acquisition Data Enhancement Industry Regulatory Compliance Environmental Impact Assessment Regional contextual data Pre- Post-decommissioning Long-term Monitoring Data Enhancement New Data-sets
Consistent Standardised Accessible Regulatory Compliant Existing Data processing11 Science Builds on INSITE Phase 1 objectives Model validation and groundtruthing Further research calls addressing specific issues, e.g. fouling Acquisition Technology Low-cost data acquisition systems Deployment and recovery methodologies Note 1: Securing release of existing data from industry partners 21
INSITE Phase 2 Structure and Funding Data Initiative Partners Partners Scope Scope (including Project Management) Gather and process existing data Develop protocols Collect new data Development of data access products (e.g. portal access) Industry: Cash and In-kind Support (E.g. data, access to assets, vessels, facilities) Science Programme Identify low-cost data acquisition systems Development of new technologies to enhance Data Initiative
Science Board led Built on enhancing INSITE Phase 1 objectives 5-year Programme, including synthesis to inform Policy-makers NERC and Partners Joint Strategic Response Industry Contribution1 BEIS (in-kind) Technology Programme CEFAS Industry OGTC or similar1 Subject to discussions with OGTC, OGIC or others 1 22
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