Commercial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind - December 1, 2022
Mystic Aquarium Launches Research on Wind Turbine Impact on Marine Life
Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is partnering with Ørsted and Eversource on a research project to study the effects of offshore wind turbines on marine mammals and sea turtles.
The research partnership is part of a larger $1.25 million grant awarded to Mystic Aquarium by Ørsted and Eversource in 2021. The research will focus on the occurrence of marine mammal strandings before and after the construction and operation of Ørsted and Eversource’s three offshore wind farms South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind.
Biomarker technology will assess the animals’ physiological responses to these systems and conduct long-term health monitoring, tagging and tracking of seals and sea turtles in the area through non-invasive sample collection strategies. These strategies include things such as environmental DNA (eDNA) from water samples, which can be used to detect the presence of these animals and can help the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program better study the animals in the surrounding ecosystem.
Research conducted through the project will also be displayed in the Aquarium’s Ocean Solutions gallery, educating on the role of oceans in solving global biodiversity and climate crises through marine protected areas and renewable ocean energy.
“Offshore wind energy will play a significant role in fighting climate change, which is one of the biggest threats to the health of marine ecosystems,” Katie Cubina, Acting President and CEO of Mystic Aquarium, said in a statement. “We absolutely need the benefits of renewable offshore wind energy to help stem environmental damage caused by fossil fuels, but we also need to ensure that wind turbines are installed and operated in a responsible manner that minimises negative impacts on the marine ecosystem.”