A Geospatial Analysis of Species of Interest in US Atlantic Wind Energy Areas

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2023-04-28

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Abstract

Although the rapid development of offshore wind energy inspires hope for a low-carbon electric grid, this climate solution may simultaneously threaten marine wildlife and ecosystems in ways that are not fully understood. In this study, I conduct a geospatial analysis of species of interest to support the DoE and BOEM funded Wildlife and Offshore Wind (WOW) project: a consortium of experts led by Duke University seeking to better understand the potential impacts of offshore wind development on marine wildlife. This analysis utilizes models from the following cetacean and seabird species, all of which have been identified by Project WOW members as species representative of at-risk marine wildlife: The Fin whale, Common minke whale, Humpback whale, North Atlantic right whale, Red-throated loon, Northern gannet and Great black-backed gull. By mapping the seasonal distribution of these species, this study provides insight into when, where, and how much spatial overlap exists between these species of interest and offshore wind areas in the US Atlantic. Results from this study also shed light onto the representativeness of offshore wind areas with respect to marine wildlife abundance, helping inform future offshore wind energy research planning and development.

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O'Brien, Bryce R (2023). A Geospatial Analysis of Species of Interest in US Atlantic Wind Energy Areas. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27199.


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