SMRU Consulting Europe – collaborating with a team of researchers at the University of St Andrews, led by Prof. John Harwood – have developed an implementation of the NRC (2005) Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCoD).

The Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance (PCAD) framework developed by the National Research Council’s panel on the biologically significant effects of noise. After Fig. 3.1 in National Research Council (2005). The number of + signs indicates the panel’s evaluation of the level of scientific knowledge about the links between boxes, 0 indicates no knowledge.

In the UK that first resulted in the interim framework for assessing the consequences of noise disturbance on marine mammal populations that may result from the underwater noise generated by offshore renewable energy developments. This framework has been used in the UK, Netherlands and Germany. In North America, the interim framework has been developed to explore how it might be used to assess the population level impacts of Navy activities on marine mammals (ONR) and on explore the effects of shipping on killer whales (Canada) and Cook Inlet beluga whales (NMFS).

The basic PCoD approach was developed by an international group of experts in the US Office of Naval Research Working Group on the Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance US National Research Council’s Committee on Characterizing Biologically Significant Marine Mammal Behaviour in its 2005 report. Their work provided the foundation for the Interim PCoD framework, which was developed at a workshop on Assessing the Risks to Marine Mammal Populations from Renewable Energy Devices, which was jointly funded by Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Natural Environment Research Centre.

The Interim PCoD framework project was commissioned and jointly funded by The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland Science, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, The Department for Energy & Climate Change, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage.  Members of each regulatory and statutory nature conservation body, along with developer representatives, participated in a steering committee for the project to ensure that the model met their needs.  The framework is underpinned by a study of The Sensitivity of UK Marine Mammal Populations to Marine Renewables Developments (Harwood & King 2014) that was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as part of its Marine Renewable Energy Knowledge Exchange programme.