• A line of offshore wind turbines seen from the surface
    blue background
    Industry interactions with the sea

Industrial impacts research

While we do not live in the ocean, our activities affect the marine environment down to the bottom of the deepest trenches. A lot of our research relates to the impacts human activities have on the marine ecosystem.

Coastal seas host a wide variety of large man-made structures for oil and gas and renewable energy extraction devices, pipelines, cabling and ship wrecks. Furthermore, both shallow and deep seas are targeted for mining and dumping as well as hosting a growing variety of aquaculture technologies.

These activities change habitats, introduce new hard substrates, add chemical and noise pollution, alter water flows, divert fisheries and risk spreading non-native species. While these activities are governed by significant legislation, how they impact the environment, how the environment impacts them, and how people view these interactions, is poorly understood but ever more important as coastal seas become ever more occupied.

SAMS combines expertise in ecology, oceanography, chemistry, environmental economics and policy to better predict the consequences of adding and removing such structures, energy, nutrients and sediment for protected species and their wider ecosystems.

If you want to know more about this research area, please contact the area leader Professor Liz Cottier-Cook.

Specific expertise includes

Here are some recent publications relating to this research theme:

Cottier-Cook, E.J., Beveridge, C., Bishop, J.D.D., Brodie, J., Clark, P.F., Epstein, G., Jenkins, S.R., Johns, D.G., Loxton, J., MacLeod, A., Maggs, C., Minchin, D., Mineur, F. , Sewell, J. and Wood, C.A. (2017). Non-native species. MCCIP Science Review 2017, 47-61, doi:10.14465/2017.arc10.005-nns

Rouse, S., Kafas, A., Hayes, P. & Wilding, T.A. (2017) Development of data layers to show the fishing intensity associated with individual pipeline sections as an aid for decommissioning decision-making. Underwater Technology 34, 171-178

Rouse, S., Hayes, P., Davies, I.M. & Wilding, T.A. (2017) Offshore pipeline decommissioning: scale and context. Marine Pollution Bulletin 129, 241-244

Benjamins, S., van Geel, N., Hastie, G., Elliott, J., & Wilson, B. 2017. Harbour porpoise distribution can vary at small spatiotemporal scales in energetic habitats. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 141: 191-202.

Fox, C.J., Benjamins, S., Masden, E.A. & Miller, R.G. 2018. Challenges and opportunities in monitoring the impacts of tidal-stream energy devices on marine vertebrates. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 18(2): 1626-1938

Hastie, G.D., Russell, D.J.F., Lepper, P., Elliott, J., Wilson, B., Benjamins, S., & Thompson, D. 2017. Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: implications for collision risk. Journal of Applied Ecology 5(2): 684-693.