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New study on divers and wind farms in the German North Sea

See our new study on the impacts of offshore wind farms on seabird populations: In the North Sea, the protected diver species red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) and black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) widely avoid offshore wind farms. We used an explicit spatio-temporal Bayesian model to get a robust estimate of the diver population during the spring season between 2001 and 2018, based on a set of aerial surveys from long-term monitoring programs within the German North Sea. Despite the erection of 20 offshore wind farms in the study area and marked responses of divers to wind farms, model results indicated that there was no population decline, and overall numbers fluctuated around 16,600 individuals. Although, avoidance behavior due to wind farm development led to a more narrowly focused spatial distribution of the birds centered in the persistent high concentration zone in the Eastern German Bight Special Protection Area, the results provide no indication of negative fitness consequences on these long-lived species.

Vilela, K., Burger, C., Diederichs, A., Bachl, F.E., Szostek, L., Freund, A., Braasch, A., Bellebaum, J., Beckers, B., Piper, W., & Nehls, G. (2021):
Use of an INLA Latent Gaussian Modeling Approach to Assess Bird Population Changes Due to the Development of Offshore Wind Farms
Front. Mar. Sci. 8:701332. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.701332
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Red-throated Diver