Key Biofouling Organisms in Tidal Habitats Targeted by the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector in the North Atlantic Include the Massive Barnacle Chirona hameri

Andrew Want*, Audrey Goubard, Solène Jonveaux, Donald Leaver, Michael C. Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Marine habitats are being targeted for the extraction of offshore renewable energy (ORE) as part of the drive to decarbonise electricity generation. Unmanaged biofouling impacts ORE devices and infrastructure by elevating drag forces, increasing weight, and accelerating corrosion, leading to decreased performance and survivability, and extending costly periods of maintenance. ORE deployments in high tidal flow locations are providing opportunities to study the biofouling unique to these habitats. In this study, surveys of numerous devices and associated infrastructure deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland identified high tidal flow fouling assemblages. Substrate orientation relative to tidal flow appears to affect the abundance of key fouling species, including the massive barnacle Chirona hameri. This species is shown to recruit to a wide range of artificial substrates, over a prolonged period from mid-spring to mid-summer, and in maximum current speeds from 0.4–4.0 m/s. For the first time, C. hameri is reported in near-surface depths, on uncoated components of a floating tidal device. The highly gregarious settlement behaviour and rapid growth exhibited by this species may have important implications for managing fouling in the ORE industry, especially in ‘niche’ areas. Anti-fouling strategies and maintenance scheduling applicable to ORE and other marine industries are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2168
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • anti-fouling
  • barnacles
  • marine growth
  • marine renewable energy
  • saddle oyster
  • sea anemone
  • soft coral
  • tidal currents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering

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