Coming together to present their latest research, results, and ideas and strengthen relations between the emerging marine renewables industry, research laboratories, and universities, the Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewable Energy Technologies (EIMR), Kirkwall, Orkney is the place to be this week.

This conference series is led by the University of the Highlands and Islands and Heriot Watt University and will explore the interactions of marine renewables; wave and tidal energy technologies with the environment.

Carol Sparling (the boss) along with colleagues; Gordon Hastie, Douglas Gillespie, Jamie Macaulay and Michael Oswald  from the Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews are attending and you will be able to see live updates on our twitter feed: @SMRU_Consulting

The group will be presenting their recent work in the areas of marine renewables:

Carol, will be talking about factors that are most critical for our ability to predict the risk of marine mammals colliding with tidal turbines and will explain why it is important to take site specific animal behaviour into account.

Doug will be presenting results from recent studies where the team used passive acoustic monitoring arrays to detect and track the three dimensional movements of porpoises and dolphins around operational turbines.

Gordon, will describe the hardware and software development of a 720 kHz multibeam sonar system to automatically detect and track the 3D movements of seals in tidally-energetic areas and present some results on how seals utilise dynamic tidal environments.

Jamie, will be presenting a review of the recently developed hybrid passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) approach which uses drifting vertical hydrophone arrays combined with much simpler drifting single autonomous PAM recorders to localise the 3D position of vocalising porpoises in tidal rapid habitats.

Joe will be exploring the consequences of potential collisions and will present the results from a series of field trials with seal carcasses to help understand the potential for skeletal damage from collisions.

Mike will be presenting a poster on the system that the team have been developing to monitor the interactions between marine mammals and marine tidal turbines.  The system combines 3 complementary technologies; PAM for the detection of vocalising porpoises and dolphins, active acoustic monitoring to detect and track seals and other species which don’t vocalise regularly and video recording which aids in the detection of collisions.

The programme for the conference is now available

Exploring new technology and science with industry, regulators and academic researchers is key to keeping ourselves and our business cutting edge. Check out some of our recent work in the marine renewables field:

Joy, R, Wood J, Sparling C, Tollit DJ, Copping A, and McConnell B (In press) Harbor seal behavior and avoidance of an operational tidal turbine. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Malinka, C, Gillespie D, Macaulay J, Joy R, and Sparling C (2018) First in-situ passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals during operation of a tidal turbine. Marine Ecology Progress Series

Sparling, CE, Lonergan M, and McConnell B (2017) Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) around an operational tidal turbine in Strangford Narrows: No barrier effect but small changes in transit behaviour. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI 10.1002/aqc.2790.