DIVER - Telemetry of divers
The German Bight is an important wintering area for the two diver species red- and black-throated diver.
The DIVER-project was a joint venture between BioConsult SH, Justus Liebig University of Gießen and DHI. Primary aim of the project was to fill existing major gaps in the knowledge about diver ecology to improve estimates of potential threats and to develop suitable measures to protect diver species.
Spatial and temporal dynamics of habitat use by divers were analysed in the context of offshore wind farm development establishing an important basis to be able to more reliably assess habitat loss caused by the construction of wind farms.
The following specific aims were pursued in the project:
- To identify the locations of origin of red-throated divers wintering in the German Bight.
- To describe movement patterns in the wintering area with a particular focus on home ranges, identification of core areas as well as temporal patterns.
- To describe exchange movements between different resting and wintering areas and to investigate the extent of site fidelity.
- To describe habitat use during the winter season in areas with and without offshore wind farms and in relation to vessel traffic.
- To investigate the food spectrum in the main wintering area.
- The tagged red-throated divers originated from regions in Greenland, Norway, Spitsbergen and Russia.
- Temporal and spatial movement patterns of the tagged red-throated divers showed high individual variability but single individuals maintained use of their general migration routes as well as large-scale resting, moulting and wintering areas.
- Red-throated divers proved to be very mobile within their wintering area reflected by mainly large winter home ranges.
- Displacement of red-throated divers from offshore wind farms and the surrounding areas has been investigated using two different sets of data (telemetry data and aerial survey data). A significant effect could be shown up to a distance of 10 to 15 km.
- The avoidance distance was larger in weather conditions with clear visibility as well as at night. Ship traffic has an effect on the displacement distances of red-throated divers. Fast vessels have a longer lasting effect in terms of return to the disturbed area than slow or medium-speed vessels.
- In the Eastern German Bight, red-throated divers feed on a broad spectrum of fish but seem to prefer pelagic schooling fish.
Based on the results of the project, recommendations for use of marine areas were developed to avoid or reduce negative effects of offshore wind farms and marine traffic on red-throated divers in important wintering areas.
For further information please refer to the following document:
Dorsch, M., Burger, C., Schubert, A., Nehls, G., Quillfeldt, P., Heinänen, S., Zydelis, R. & Morkūnas, J. (2019):
DIVER – German tracking study of seabirds in areas of planned Offshore Wind Farms at the example of divers. Final report on the joint project DIVER, FKZ 0325747A/B, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi).Download document
The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) represented by Projektträger Jülich (PtJ).
Project duration: 01/11/2014 – 31/10/2018
Funding ID 0325747 A/B